“The Garden Of All The Virtues”

Begin the new year with God

Let’s live today in light of that generosity and grace as we spend time in his presence.


In our last day of our weeklong focus on humility, we’re going to reflect on how much God has given us. The more we recognize the extent of what we’ve been given, the easier it becomes to walk with a heart of humility. God has been so generous to us. Let’s live today in light of that generosity and grace as we spend time in his presence.


“By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Romans 12:3 ESV


I have struggled with understanding humility my entire Christian life.

My problem is not so much with appearing to be humble. Like most people, I have learned over the years to deflect praise and to act in self-deprecating ways that hopefully convince others of my humility. Nor is my problem with wanting to be humble. I genuinely do want to be a person of humility with God, others, and myself.

My problem is with truly being humble in my own inner thoughts and feelings.

I’ve realized over time that this is because I picked up the wrong idea of humility along the way. I thought that to be genuinely humble meant to think less of myself than I would otherwise, to devalue my gifts, abilities, and accomplishments. But this felt less than honest. My gifts, abilities, and accomplishments are real. So are yours.

But if we recognize them for what they are, how is this humility?

It turns out, I needed to change my definition of humility from thinking less of myself to thinking of myself less (as Rick Warren noted in The Purpose Driven Life). I needed to shift my focus from myself to my Lord, recognizing that my gifts and abilities do not come from my own achievement but from his grace.

This is what it means to “think with sober judgment,” as our verse today suggests. When we admit that our abilities come from our Creator and not ourselves, we will not think of ourselves “more highly than [we] ought to think.” We will turn our attention from ourselves to our Lord. From pride to gratitude. And genuine humility will be the result.

Think about this with me for a moment: Did you earn the right to be born? Did you do something to produce your life? Did you deserve to be “born again” (John 3:3)? Did you meet a list of requirements that produced your eternal life?

What about your gifts and abilities? Were those acquired or given? Did you earn every opportunity of education and experience that has come your way? Do any of us have even a little control over the air we are breathing right now?

The life we are living is a gift.

St. John Chrysostom (AD 347–407) observed, “Humility is the garden of all the virtues.”

May God foster in us a healthy garden for his fruit to grow as we spend time in prayer.

today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison


1. Reflect on the gifts and abilities that enable you to live your life and do your work. Think about how each of them finds its source not in your merit but in your Father’s grace.

“Never be wise in your own sight” (Romans 12:16).

2. Respond to his grace with gratitude and humility.

“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lᴏʀᴅ who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:23–24).

3. Choose to use your gifts and abilities to honor your Creator and to serve everyone he loves.

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).


“The Garden Of All The Virtues”


Every gift, ability, and opportunity in your life is to be used to love your Lord and your neighbor. And serving our neighbor is often our best way of serving our Father.

John Wesley observed, “One of the principal rules of religion is to lose no occasion of serving God. And since he is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve him in our neighbor; which he receives as if done to himself in person, standing visibly before us.”

May our love for God be evident today as we generously serve those around us with a heart of humility.

Extended reading: Luke 15:11–32

May our love for God be evident today as we generously serve those around us with a heart of humility.


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