“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?» (Micah 6:8)
The word «humility» usually has different meanings. James 1:9 mentions the «lowly brother glory in his exaltation» which describes humility as poverty. Other passages talk of submission and meekness. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven» (Matt. 18:4). There are also other verses that consider humbleness as the trait of someone who is «marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit» ( The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition). Romans 12: 16 exemplified this meaning by saying, «Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
Indeed, a humble person is a person who does not boast about his or her achievements and acts without pride and displays submission; but submission to whom? The topic of submission is usually misunderstood. Sometimes, people are judged as proud or arrogant for not submitting to the orders or wishes of others. However, the Bible is clear when it mentions that our submission must be primarily to God (see James 4:7) and then to other people. On this latter point, the apostle Paul clarifies that this submission is contingent to the fear of God by emphasizing these words, «submitting to one another in the fear of God» (Eph. 5:21).
Peter and John were teaching the people the gospel of Christ (Acts 4). But the religious authorities of their time, bothered by teachings, made them prisoners (v. 3), threatened (v. 17) and intimidated them (v. 18) so they would stop speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Imagine, they got so furious that they wanted to kill them (5:33). However, despite the persecutions, the apostles tirelessly uttered, «We ought to obey God rather than men» (5:29).
Nowadays, it is possible to face threats and persecution for the truth. If we submit our heart to God every day, we do not need to submit it people who use the mentioned methods, even if they use them in the name of the Lord. There are invaluable promises for those who do so «For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’ » (Isa. 57: 15).