A Dose of Humility

Led More By Jesus

In this 25th anniversary article, Tim McCarthy shares about a discovery that is helping him to be led more by Jesus in all aspects of his life. Can you relate?

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

1 Peter 5:6

It was the ‘last straw’! One of my kids had made another foolish and inconsiderate decision. Why would anyone want to do that? What was this child thinking! Tempers flared; I made my frustration abundantly clear. I expected this terrible thing to never happen again. After some huffing and puffing, my chastised child grudgingly acknowledged that it shouldn’t have happened. Satisfied, I returned to my own corner of the mat in victory.


But there, as I stewed in my frustration, the Spirit gently reminded my angry heart of this verse: “He does not always accuse, nor does he harbor his anger forever” (Psalm 103:9). This beautiful description of God’s character knocked the wind from my self-righteous sails. I realized (though at first, reluctantly) that I was probably missing something in my child’s life that only God could see clearly. I saw how my approach to this situation differed from the character and ways of God in leading me. And I saw how fruitless this approach to discipline was going to be in the long run. In his own deeply soul-piercing way, Jesus was calling me to deeper humility as a parent. This humbling event began a prayerful journey of seeking the resources that would help me lead my family more like Jesus and more faithfully to Jesus.

Perhaps it seems trite, but for me it bears repeating: humility is the key to learning how to be led more by Jesus in every area of life – parenting, ministry, counseling or personal development. Humility is mostly healthy self-awareness. The more deluded I am of the completeness of my resources in a particular situation, the less aware I will be of the essential resources that only Jesus can offer! So as I grow in being led more by Jesus, I’m trying to learn humility.

There are two places in the New Testament where this proverb is quoted: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34). James links it to selfishness that causes quarrels between believers (see James 4:1-6). Peter specifically applies it to the conflicts that arise between older and younger leaders (see 1 Peter 5:1-6). In these scenarios and many others, God makes it difficult for the proud to perceive and pursue the best approach to a situation.

Instead, God delights to pour out his resources on the one who acknowledges his or her limitations and asks for help. Remembering this truth is a continual challenge for me, but it has invariably proven to be true. Whether it’s a conflict within my family, a tough call on a staff team, a potential ministry opportunity or a Scripture I’m reading, I’m learning to assume that the right perspective and the right answers will not always come from me. Perhaps my child’s behaviour is a signal that I’ve got issues too! Perhaps the disunity I perceive in a meeting is my responsibility too, not only someone else’s. If I’m convinced that I already know the answer better than anyone, I may miss what God wants to do there altogether. But if I’m willing to humble myself under God’s mighty hand, I’ll receive the leading that I require to move in the right direction, and “he will lift me up in due time.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. What makes it difficult to take a humble stance in the face of new or challenging circumstances?
  2. What is an area of your leadership or responsibility where a more humble approach might open you to Jesus’ leading in a new way?



Tim McCarthy (Arrow Class 29) is a son of his heavenly Father, husband to Cyndi, father to 5 amazing kids, songwriter, and pastor and worship leader at North Langley Community Church in Langley, British Columbia. His passion is making disciples who treasure Christ and embrace His mission for the sake of the world.