Bible Study Guides – Humility on Stilts?

December 27, 2009 – January 2, 2010

Key Text

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:19–21.

Study Help: The Review and Herald, April 19, 1892—Christ’s Instructions to His Followers; The Desire of Ages, 650 or entire chapter—A Servant of Servants.


“My brethren, try the wearing of Christ’s yoke. Come down from your spiritual stilts and practice the grace of humility. Put away every evil surmising and be willing to see the value of the gifts God has bestowed on your brethren.” Evangelism 102.

1 What is the first character attribute we need so that our humility is not on stilts? Matthew 5:3.

Note. “Fear lest you make a mistake, and bring dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Cry unto him, believing that he has power to save. This is the humility that we want; not a humility on stilts, parading itself before the eyes of men, that it may win praise for righteousness.” The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, June 1, 1892.

2 While we see our helplessness, what are we to continually do? I Peter 5:6. Instead of feeding on the “husks of self-righteousness,” from whom should our nourishment come?

Note: “We are to surrender our hearts to God, that He may renew and sanctify us, and fit us for His heavenly court. We are not to wait for some special time, but today we are to give ourselves to Him, refusing to be the servants of sin. Do you imagine you can leave off sin a little at a time? Oh, leave the accursed thing at once! Hate the things that Christ hates, love the things that Christ loves. Has He not by His death and suffering made provision for your cleansing from sin? When we begin to realize that we are sinners, and fall on the Rock to be broken, the everlasting arms are placed about us, and we are brought close to the heart of Jesus. Then we shall be charmed with His loveliness, and disgusted with our own righteousness. We need to come close to the foot of the cross. The more we humble ourselves there, the more exalted will God’s love appear. The grace and righteousness of Christ will not avail for him who feels whole, for him who thinks he is reasonably good, who is contented with his own condition. There is no room for Christ in the heart of him who does not realize his need of divine light and aid.

“Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). There is fullness of grace in God, and we may have His spirit and power in large measure. Do not feed on the husks of self-righteousness, but go to the Lord. He has the best robe to put upon you, and His arms are open to receive. Christ will say, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him, and clothe him with a change of raiment’ [Zechariah 3:4].” Selected Messages, Book 1, 327, 328.

3 What are we to do with regard to our own salvation? Philippians 2:12.

Note: “The Lord has commanded us, ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ [Philippians 2:12]. But what does this mean? It means that you feel your necessity, that you are poor in spirit, that you rejoice with trembling. It means that you know that in the very words you utter you may make a mistake, that in the very best of your work self may be so mingled that your efforts may be valueless, that you realize that your efficiency is in Christ. Oh, let the cry of the soul continually be—‘Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.’ ” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1892.

4 Because pride tends to get in the way, and represents self, which of the Ten Commandments do we break when we are on those high stilts? Exodus 20:3.

Note: “Idolaters are condemned by the word of God. Their folly consists in trusting in self for salvation, in bowing down to the works of their own hands. God classes as idolaters those who trust in their own wisdom, their own devising, depending for success on their riches and power, striving to strengthen themselves by alliance with men whom the world calls great, but who fail to discern the binding claims of His law.” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.

5 What is the difference between the Pharisee and the publican? Luke 18:10–14. What does it mean to “parade” yourself before men?

Note: “The Pharisee and the publican represent two great classes into which those who come to worship God are divided. Their first two representatives are found in the first two children that were born into the world. Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of mercy. But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the unmerited love of God. The Lord had respect to his offering, but to Cain and his offering He had not respect. The sense of need, the recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of acceptance with God. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 5:3.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 152.

“The humility that Jesus speaks of in the text is not a humility on stilts, as was the Pharisee’s, parading itself before the eyes of men, that his righteousness might be seen and praised of men. Humility is before honor.” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1892.

6 Because the Pharisee’s humility was on stilts, what door was being blocked from being opened? Revelation 3:20.

Note: “Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the Word of God, or through His delegated messengers, is a knock at the door of the heart; it is the voice of Jesus, asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, your determination to open becomes weaker and weaker. If the voice of Jesus is not heeded at once, it becomes confused in the mind with a multitude of other voices, the world’s care and business engross the attention, and conviction dies away. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of time, and of the great eternity beyond.

“Many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of the heart that they cannot admit Jesus. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove; others have evil tempers, pride, covetousness; with others, love of the world bars the entrance. All this must be taken away, before they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in.

“Our work is to open the door of the heart and let Jesus come in. He is knocking for entrance. … Will you open the door? Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. Let Him in, the heavenly Guest.” Our High Calling, 352.

7 If the stilts or pride is not removed, what will we miss out on if our humility is on stilts? Revelation 3:21.

Note: “Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a person. Those who are rich and honorable in their own eyes do not ask in faith, and receive the blessing of God. They feel that they are full; therefore they go away empty. Those who know that they cannot possibly save themselves, or of themselves do any righteous action, are the ones who appreciate the help that Christ can bestow. They are the poor in spirit, whom He declares to be blessed.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 7.

8 What kind of heart must we have before we can even be called a believer in Jesus? Psalm 51:17; Revelation 3:17, 18.

Note: “Faith and love are the gold tried in the fire. But with many the gold has become dim, and the rich treasure has been lost. The righteousness of Christ is to them as a robe unworn, a fountain untouched. To them it is said, ‘I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.’ Revelation 2:4, 5.

“ ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’ Psalm 51:17. Man must be emptied of self before he can be, in the fullest sense, a believer in Jesus. When self is renounced, then the Lord can make man a new creature. New bottles can contain the new wine. The love of Christ will animate the believer with new life. In him who looks unto the Author and Finisher of our faith the character of Christ will be manifest.” The Desire of Ages, 280.

9 When you come down from your stilts, what will God do for you? Philippians 2:13.

Note: “How thankful we should be that we have a heavenly Intercessor. Jesus presents us to the Father robed in his righteousness. He pleads before God in our behalf. He says, ‘I have taken the sinner’s place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on me. Look not upon his filthy garments, but look on my righteousness.’ When we are forgiven for our sins, when our filthy garments are taken away, then we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; but we are not left to do the work alone; ‘for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ [Philippians 2:13.] God works and man works; and as this co-operation is maintained, the richest blessings will come upon those who labor together with God.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, June 1, 1892.

10 While on stilts there is no room except for self; but, Who will come to dwell with you when you do away with those stilts? Isaiah 57:15.

Note: “Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel the need of a living, personal union with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion. They desire to walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of popularity and love of praise, exclude the Saviour from their hearts, and without Him there is gloom and sadness. But Christ dwelling in the soul is a wellspring of joy. For all who receive Him, the very keynote of the word of God is rejoicing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 162.

Additional Reading

“But as we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands and say, I have nothing to do, Jesus has done it all?—No; we are to put forth every energy, that we may become ‘partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust’ [II Peter 1:4]. We are to be overcomers, to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, yet we can do nothing to pay a ransom for our souls. But while we see our helplessness, we are to be continually looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God. Neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the Finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ.

“All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that he is drawing you to himself and that you are responding to his drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter, and if you submit yourself to Christ, he will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself, that he may obtain the grace which will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, ‘The Lord is my helper’ [Hebrews 13:6]. …

“ ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ The humility that Jesus speaks of in the text is not a humility on stilts, as was the Pharisee’s, parading itself before the eyes of men, that his righteousness might be seen and praised of men. Humility is before honor. The apostle exhorts the followers of Christ: ‘Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up’ [James 4:10]. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ Fear lest you shall make a mistake, and bring dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Cry unto him, believing that he has power to save. This is the humility that we want. We need a physician and restorer for our souls, and when we come unto Christ petitioning for his grace, the Comforter will breathe his words into our souls, ‘My peace give I unto you’ [John 14:27]. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ We are to come as little children to God; and as we realize our poverty, we are not to tell it to men, but to God. Do not tell your weakness to those who can give you no strength. Tell it to God; for he will know just what to do for you.” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1892.

“The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar his entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity he gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God’s talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings he has given?” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.

Lesson Studies were prepared by Judy Hallingstad of the LandMarks staff. She can be contacted at .