Humility is a key aspect of Jesus’ character. It is a key component of unity and fellowship. As followers of Christ, we need to ask ourselves what humility looks like, and we need to grow in it. It is not an easy thing to cultivate humility. We live in a world that values pride and promotes it. Yet, if we are to follow God with all that we are, we need to lay aside our pride, and take up humility.
More often than not, we attribute our success to pride. We nurture it, grow it, and allow it to lead us. We want modesty, but pride manages to weave through its disguise. Pride brings envy with it. It brings dissention amongst the church, discontent within our heart, and disloyalty to God. Yet, at the core of pride, we find a heart with longing and vision. We find potential for HUMILITY.
If we are to uncover the truth of humility, we need to look at JESUS. Humility is an integral part of His character and Jesus shows us its fruit.
Humility in Obedience
[Philippians 2:5-8] – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross.”
Jesus demonstrates what it means to have a mindset of humility. Jesus, though equal with God, still humbled Himself and chose to become a man. He chose to serve those on earth, and He chose obedience to the will of God, even when it meant His death on the cross. This, the epitome of God’s love for us, also demonstrates Christ’s humility. Jesus could have done whatever He wanted, but in humility He was obedient to the will of God.
Humility in Suffering
[Isaiah 53:10] – “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”
Jesus laid aside His right to comfort, and persevered in suffering. Though He was God, Jesus didn’t consider suffering below Him. He understood it, He endured it, and He overcame it. Led away to die on the cross though innocent, Jesus did not speak against His oppressors. He suffered and died for our sins so that we could be raised up to life with Him. This is the greatness of His love, and the humility of His love, that He suffered in silence to save our souls.
Humility in Receiving
[Matthew 3:13-16] – “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptised by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.”
While Jesus performed many miracles, gave hope to the nations and brought salvation to all people, He also received. He was baptised by John, and Mary washed His feet with perfume. In Jesus’ conversation with John, He explains the reason for His coming to be baptised. Jesus, as both man and God, fulfilled the law. Sometimes, we get used to giving all the time, and we forget that there is a humility found in receiving a gift gratefully. Jesus receives our worship and He loves it. When we surrender to Him, we get to receive the fullness of His love.
Humility in Serving
[John 13:13-15] – “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you and example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
In the gospel of John, we see how Jesus, the King of kings, shows Himself to be a servant to all in washing His disciples’ feet. This was the job of a servant – to clean the tired, dusty feet of guests to a household. Yet, Jesus knees before His disciples and performs the lowly task. Though all things were made by Him and for Him, Jesus voluntarily chose to serve. In doing this, he demonstrated the greatness of humility in serving others.
Humility in the Church
[1 Corinthians 12:6-7] – “And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”
The church cannot function effectively without humility. Without humility, there is competition, envy, dissention and accusation. However, when we are, each in ourselves, comfortable in knowing God loves us, that He loves others, that He is just and that He has a perfect plan, we can be comfortable in humility. We know that Christ gives to each as He pleases and rewards each one according to what he has done. With this security in Christ, we are released to look out for the interests of one another, to encourage one another, and in this way, to build up the church.
Pride and humility – both involve identity and both involve confidence. Pride, however, involves us making something of ourselves, whereas humility is dependent on who God says we are. We have humility when we are confident in our God-given identity because we do not have to make an image of ourselves. We know we are made in the image of God. This frees us to love others and build them up because we ourselves are already fully loved and built up by God.
HUMILITY is not thinking less of ourselves, rather
it is the confidence of knowing we are fully loved and cherished by God.
It is the contentment of knowing that it is God who gives us our identity, God who gives us our purpose, and God who judges us and gives us our reward. This causes us to fearlessly lay down our lives for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. We submit our paths to His direction in obedience, we persevere in suffering, we give and receive with joy, and we bless our brothers and sisters with Christ.