Humility Is the Road to Character (Psalm 25)

Reading: Psalm 25

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long… Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

(Psalm 25:4-5,8-9)


It is only the humble heart that wants to be taught. The proud heart will accept teaching if he sees that someone is greater than him, or if he is confronted with his own failures (which he deems more occasional than endemic). But the proud heart does not want to be taught or lead.

But salvation begins in humility. It is recognizing first that you are a sinner in the sight of God, that you have missed the mark of what it means to be an image bearer. It means admitting that your sin is not just an occasional act, but a part of your very nature. But then it is also realizing that there is nothing you can do to make up for it, and that there is nothing you can do to change yourself.

It’s too easy for the believer to begin in this place, and then to go back to a point of pride. We think that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and that, now that we have the Spirit, real change and learning comes from hard work and determination. It comes from obedience to the law.

But that is to “forget how we learned Christ in the first place” (see Galatians 3:1-6). We did not learn Christ or receive the Spirit by works of the law. Instead, it came through humble faith and an honest recognition of our need. And that means, too, that to learn the ways of the Lord requires an ongoing humility, a humble posture of the heart.

Only those who are humble in heart wish to be taught.


Father, too often I am not an eager learner of your ways. I don’t seek you out or contend with my own inadequacies. And even when I see them, I look more to my own will-power and determination than I do to your Spirit in faith. Humble me, O Lord, that I might be one of those whom you lead, whom you teach. Pardon my guilt and teach this sinner your ways.


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