Share This Episode
Family Life Today Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine Logo

David Mathis: Humbled

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 2:03 am

David Mathis: Humbled

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1094 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

June 2, 2022 2:03 am

Can we find humility by trying harder? Author David Mathis suggests surprising truth about what we can't do when it comes to being humble and what we can.

Show Notes and Resources

Find resources from this podcast at

Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife's app!

Help others find Familylife.  Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Check out all the Familylife's on the FamilyLife Podcast Network

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Summit Life
J.D. Greear

I'm thinking of one of my most humbling moments on stage with you talking about marriage. I have no idea what this is. You don't remember.

This is a date night we did at a church, and we're talking about vertical marriage. And we were, you know, going back and forth as we do on stage about marriage, and then we had to set up a video clip. Is it when you made me dress up like Cher? No, as I was setting up this video clip, you literally said to me, that's not the clip we're going to show.

And I'm like, yes it is. And then I said, roll the clip. And then as I started playing the clip, I literally reached over, turned my mic off, and I was so mad. At me. And the whole talk we were given was how to resolve conflict.

And we are literally having one on the stage in front of a thousand people. It was like a humbling moment, like I can't even live out the truth I'm going to be teaching. Were you humbled because you were wrong? Or I was right?

If you remember, you're bringing it up because you do remember. You were right. And I was wrong. And I looked like a fool. But of course I was convinced you were wrong.

And I was right. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson.

And you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. But you know, this topic of being humbled is not something we talk about every day because it's something we don't want. We don't want to be humbled.

But it's necessary. It's really necessary to know God and to walk with him. You and David Mathis actually got to sit down and have a discussion about his book called Humbled. Humbled, yeah. Who writes a book called Humbled? But it really is a profound look at what humbling in our life does in bringing out the richness of Christ in us as a husband, as a dad, as a wife or a mom. And it was a rich time. I mean, David's really a theologian.

He's with Desiring God Ministries and he's a pastor in Minneapolis and a husband and a father. And man, he took us to some relevant places. So listen in. All right, David, so we're going to talk about a concept that a lot of us don't want to talk about. That's right. The title of your book is Humbled.

You know, like past tense, right? You know, part of me wants to ask you your most proud moment in life, not your most humble, but your most proud. I'm going to tell you mine real quick, OK?

And then I want to see if you have one that's similar. I still, to this day, since the 70s, so what are we, 2022, I still own the longest touchdown pass ever thrown in an Ohio high school playoff game. It's an Ohio playoff record. 97 yard touchdown pass. So it's pretty amazing, right?

You're pretty impressed with me right now, right? It was a record that even Ben Roethlisberger, who broke my records at my high school, he didn't break this one. I still own this one. He'll never break it. Joe Burrow didn't pass this record.

Joe Burrow didn't break it. It's the greatest, worst moment of my life because that 97 yard touchdown was an interception. Hey, go ahead and laugh, David. You know, it's the most humbling moment of my life. It's funny, whenever I tell that story, you know, like in a sermon or something where I'm speaking somewhere, I'll say it like that. Like I still own and everybody starts cheering and then I go, well, you know, you shouldn't be cheering.

Because first of all, I'm thinking, do people really think I would brag about that arrogant that I go, hey, let me tell you how great I am? No, it was interception and we lost the game. It was the number one team in the nation at the time.

Cincinnati Molar beat us. So I'm still known back in my hometown as the guy who lost the state championship by throwing an interception. So in some ways it is funny.

I'm kidding. I don't care if you laugh because it's, you know, it's just part of history. But it was a humbling moment.

And even now to say it out loud is like, oh, I wish I could take that moment back. To be humbled is not something we desire. No. So talk to us about this concept of humility and this whole book about humbled. What's it about? What's it mean? Well, the book began with a humbling moment for me.

Really? It was private in a sense. I can talk about it, but it wasn't a moment of throwing an interception or in high school baseball. I started off my career with diversity as a sophomore with five hits in the first five at bats, and then I missed a suicide squeeze bunt sign. In the same game? In my sixth at bat.

Two games and into the second one. And that was so humbling. I guess I could do some sports stories, but this one, like this is close to home and this is recent in terms of after reading the Bible year after year, I would come across this humble yourself language over and over.

And so ironically, I thought I should figure this out. Maybe I can glean some clear steps of how I can be more humble. And so I started to undertake this study of the humble yourself language. It starts in Exodus chapter 10 and especially strong in Second Chronicles in the teaching of Jesus and his apostles. The exalted will be humbled. The humble will be exalted. And the first lesson that struck me as I got these texts in front of me and slowed down enough to study them and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. The first lesson is you don't just humble yourself, American.

My American instincts were I can figure this out. I'll get my life hacks. I'll get my to do's. I'll figure out how to humble myself and I'm getting ready. And the main lesson, perhaps, in those self humbling texts is you don't do it on your time frame. It was a humbling moment to receive that and say, and on the one hand, to be very thankful for God's initiative, to be thankful that he's God and I'm not God. You say that early in your writing. It's like that is sort of the definition of humility is he's God and I'm not. But help me understand what you mean by that. I don't humble myself.

I think it's very American and it's what I was born and raised in as an American. Not necessarily by the church in particular, but just being raised in the 80s and 90s sense of you can do it. You have this sense of agency. Get your steps. And so it almost we can begin to apply that to humility of. All right, God, I'm ready now to be more humble and I'll pursue humility, which it's a very good thing for a Christian to pursue humility because God tells us seek humility.

Put it on. He tells us there's blessings for the humble. So a good Christian response to reading God's word is to say, I want to be more humble. God make me more humble. But the humbling lesson is you don't just up and do it. You don't humble yourself by your own bootstraps. You humble yourself when God's ready. So the first lesson is God takes the initiative in the humbling of his people.

You don't wake up one day and say, all right, I'm a start humility project today. God starts the humility project with some uncomfortable, painful event that he brings into our life. Maybe it's some exposure of our own sin. Maybe it's the rebuke, gracious as it may be, from a spouse. Maybe it's a painful event in our life. Maybe it's a divorce. Maybe it's the death of a friend.

Maybe it's the loss of a job. God humbles us. And then the question comes.

This is what plays out in all these scriptural texts. Then the question comes when you have been humbled by God. Will you humble yourself? Will you receive his unpleasant work? Might you even welcome his unpleasant work?

Painful as it is. Because you see the hand of God at work making you into the kind of human and soul and Christian he means for you to be. So that first lesson is God takes the first step in humbling and the humbling of ourselves comes in response to his often surprising work.

Yeah. And when I hear that, my honest reaction is, who wants that? You know, it's like I do not, you know, it's not appealing to think, OK, God's going to humble me. It's not even an attribute often you think about as a man. I mean, you know, in my three decades plus with in the NFL with the Detroit Lions as their chaplain, I rarely have ever heard a head coach stand up in front of our team and in the locker room and said, let's talk about humility. That's a character trait that I want to build into this team.

It's like the opposite. It's like strength and pride and power. And again, I'm not saying those things are evil in themselves.

They can be powerful. But humility often isn't what you think of in terms of a man winning in life. And you use the term maybe, you know, as an American, I want to I want to I want to win.

As an athlete, I want to win. I don't want to be humbled. You know, when I hear you say that, I'm thinking, wow, then the Detroit Lions should have been the most humble team in the NFL because we lost so much.

But so help me understand how I would welcome that, because I think our nature is going to push back against that. But if God is humbling me, how do I receive that in a way that's going to honor God and honor who God wants me to be? Well, I think our perspective or whose eyes we have in mind with the humbling is very important.

So if you talk about a professional sports team or an athlete, clearly nobody wants to be humbled or you might even use the word humiliated in front of the crowd, in front of the other team. So I'm talking in particular about, you know, quorum Deo. That's the old Latin phrase before God. What does it mean to be humble to the humility we want to talk about is an embrace of what it means for him to be God. I am not. I think it's a fair way to capture the heart of humility by saying humility confesses he is God and I'm not. And I'm happy about that.

So it could happen in a very public context where you are humiliated in front of the eyes of fellow humans. And in it, you see, you take it with respect to God and you realize this is a reminder. I'm not God.

I'm creature. I am redeemed in Christ. But before God, I say he's God and I'm not God. And I think that's an important context in which to think about it. If we're thinking about our humbling only before other humans, we're not really getting to the heart of what God means by humbling and what the Christian virtue of humility is, being a virtue proper to the creature with respect to his creator.

Yeah. In some ways, when I think of what you're saying real humility is in terms of he is God and I am not, tell me if I'm on the right track. What entered my mind was will. I want my will more than anything. And I know who God is and I serve him and I love him.

But I honestly I want what I want sometimes more than I think I want what he wants. I mean, you talk about a picture and humility is Jesus in the garden before his death saying not my will. I mean, being honest with God, man, if this cup can pass, I'd rather not. But not my will. Your will be done. That's a humble picture of what it looks like to bow before he is God and I'm not. He's in control.

I'm not. But I got to be honest, I don't often want to be there. It's like, no, no, no. I want this to take place in my life and this to take place in my family. I want my kids to turn out like this. That humbling moment say, yeah, but I'm willing to surrender my will under your will. Is that what you're talking about? Because that's that is something I want, but I'm not apt to go there.

It's hard. Dave, I think it's so helpful to draw in Gethsemane, draw in Jesus there, because in Jesus you have God who has become fully man. And so we see a glimpse there of something very profound about what it means for us as humans before our God. Maybe one of the most remarkable claims in all the Bible is Philippians 2.8 about the Son of God when Paul says he humbled himself.

I mean, isn't that amazing? God himself, in human flesh, humbled himself. That was my only all-nighter in seminary. Walking through that passage in the Greek, Kenosis, he emptied himself and trying to get my brain around.

What in the world does it mean? The God of the universe emptied himself, took on death, not just death, but death on a cross. You talk about humility. Explain that a little bit, because that is the picture of God's humility and what we're supposed to live out.

Explain that to us. Well, what's amazing about that passage in Philippians 2 is that you mentioned it, you know, Kenosis, self-emptying. So the verb Paul used to talk about God becoming man in the Incarnation is he emptied himself. That's first. God becomes man by emptying himself, and then being found in human form, he humbled himself.

So a couple quick things there. The emptying, we know, is not an emptying of divine power or prerogative or divine attributes. It's not Jesus emptying himself of being God so that he comes as man and is no longer God.

It's not even possible. Paul says he emptied himself taking. So this is an emptying by taking. He took our humanity. And so he was subjected to our sinful world and our environment, the limitations of humanity, all that he went through in being human and being roughed up, of being humbled, of going to the cross.

He emptied himself of the privilege of not going through the human experience and became man. Now, being found in human form, Paul says, he humbled himself. So what you see here is that humbling is a particularly creaturely thing. If we were to ask the question, is God humble? That's a tough question because on the one hand we think, well, he's not the opposite of humble. We wouldn't think of God as arrogant or prideful or conceited. But humility, I think rightly, is a creaturely virtue.

It's a creature before God saying he's God and I'm not. So I think I would say of God that humility isn't a typical virtue that we would ascribe to divine until he takes humanity. And then God himself in the person of Jesus shows us what humility is like. Here's a remarkable thing that helps us put humility in context, being humbled in context.

Being humbled doesn't mean being a loser necessarily. God may humble us through various aspects of losing and loss in our lives. But get this, the most humble, meekest human who has ever lived sits right now on the throne of the universe. So don't think that being humble means you can't be king of the universe. So God himself by becoming man has shown us the fullness of humility.

Because Jesus himself in his humanity is very aware and conscious beyond even us of the glory of his father, his obedience to his father, his submission and love in his humanity of his father in heaven. And so we need to take into account Christ's own humility in thinking through the various aspects of what it means to be human. It doesn't mean, you know, for dads, for moms, for kids, being humble doesn't mean being weak. Being humble means seeing your strength in its right proportion. Can you explain that? Because really humility properly lived out is strength.

Am I right? We can construe it in that kind of way in the sense that, what's our standard for strength? Is our standard for strength a bench press or a 40-yard dash or how much we're the boss at work or at home? Or is it strength from God's perspective?

Which is going to have various aspects that humans are going to see as strong. Like it's good for daddy to be strong. It's good for a husband to be strong. But not in a way that he uses that strength to the harm of his wife or the harm of his children or uses his power and strength to the harm of his co-workers or the pastors that use it to the harm of his people. But that he would use that God-given strength to bless them, to help them. One of my sons is unusually strong, I think, for his age.

Because he has a twin brother, so we can compare at least. And one thing I say over and over again is, buddy, God made you strong to help people, not to hurt people. And we can say to our children that are good with words, sweetie or son, God made you good with words not to hurt people, but to help people. You know, as you say that, I think when anyone takes their position of power or strength and uses it to serve someone that doesn't have power or strength, that's humble.

Mostly. I'm a theologian. I can nuance this and that and add footnotes to it one after another. I definitely want to make it distinctively Christian in terms of that the end goal is being determined on God's terms. And not just the terms of the one who is purportedly weak. You know, that the weak person is not setting the terms, but that God himself is setting the terms. And in our desire to make much of him and have our own joy spill over and multiply by the joy of others, that we draw them into terms that God has established for what is good and right and true. Yeah, and I'm going right away to husband, family, and I'm thinking we are called to be Jesus to our wife, to our family.

You just outlined from Philippians 2, Jesus emptied, Jesus humbled. So help us understand what would that look like, I guess we can say as a husband, to love your wife as Christ loved the church through the lens of humility. You're listening to Dave Wilson and David Mathis on Family Life Today. We'll hear more from their conversation in just a minute, but first, at Family Life, we believe God does some of his most amazing work in homes just like yours.

And for me, that gives me a lot of hope. No matter how confused the culture is or how bad the headlines are, God is at work and he's not dependent on some political figure or the biggest influencer. He's using families just like yours to make a difference one home at a time. And that's why we do radio broadcasts and podcasts and weekend to remember marriage getaways and small group Bible studies to help strengthen families to make an impact in their corner of the world. And you can help make an impact for even more families by financially partnering with Family Life. And when you give today, we'll send you a copy of David Mathis' book, Humbled, welcoming the uncomfortable work of God. That's our thanks to you when you give at or when you call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now back to David Mathis and what humility looks like for a husband. For a husband, the physical and emotional strength that God has given me to whatever degree, he means for me to have my feet, talking to Christian husbands here, to have my feet sufficiently under me and on the rock of God's word and who God is and who Jesus Christ is. That I happily want to marshal what emotional and physical strength I have to help my wife.

Being a husband is not about me being on the couch and her serving my whims and making life convenient for me. God made men strong for a reason to help others. It's significant that the husband is typically the strongest person in the house. In Christ, we should think about how we can use that energy, how we can use that strength, how we can use, you know, many husbands need about an hour less sleep than their wife. How can we use that to bless her, to bless the family, to be thinking of ways that we can take emotional, physical energy and resources for the good of our kids, for the good of our wives. Rather than thinking that to be head of this home or to be the man means that everybody else puts their energies in service of my convenience.

It's the opposite. God made men strong so that we can do more than meet our own needs, that we have some energy extra to share and meet the needs of others. And so we take a life and have children that we generate energy to be able to share and help and build others up in the home. So very significant for husbands. And there's its own manifestation too for moms in all they do for their kids and the ways they bless their husband as well. So it's not just a man thing there, but to talk about physical strength is one avenue in to discussing the giving of ourselves in a Christ-like way for the eternal good of others.

Yeah. And even as you say that, I'm picturing you or me or any husband on their knees with their family, praying for their family. And I'm thinking if somebody looked in on a screen and saw that picture or just walked in a room and saw that, they might think it looks like weakness, like he's begging for something on his knees. It's the most powerful picture of strength ever. It's humility to say, I can't leave this family.

I can't love her. I can't love him without the power of God in my life. So I'm asking God, God, give me what I don't have to be the man, to be the woman you called me to be.

Would you meet me right here where I am? That's humble, but that's strength because it may look weak, but it isn't at all. It's where you're finding real power. That's a picture of Jesus.

That's right. That humble dad is aware he doesn't run the universe. And the great head of this family and of his church is Jesus Christ. I am a man under authority, and I'm happy with that. And one reason that the life-giving authority a man would have in his home would come to pass through him knowing he's not in charge, there's not authority in and of me and myself. I am a man under authority in Jesus Christ, and I am here to give life, to bless, to give joy, to give help. That's Dave Wilson with David Mathis on Family Life Today. David's book is called Humbled, Welcoming the Uncomfortable Work of God. You can get it at or by calling 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. If you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation, you can share it from wherever you get your podcasts.

And while you're there, it'd really help us out if you'd rate and review us. So what happened when Ann Wilson told Dave that she had lost her feelings for him? How did Dave respond? We'll hear that story tomorrow as Dave Wilson talks again with David Mathis about our need for acknowledgement and the value of godly humility. That's tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 14:36:09 / 2023-01-11 14:46:11 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime