One of the most misunderstood of all characteristics is the characteristic of humility. I have met people who are even proud of their humility. Most people don’t understand what biblical humility is. Biblical humility has nothing to do weakness, or with a person who for the sake of being liked or becoming popular compromises his or her conviction.
Biblical humility is knowing who God is and who I am in relationship to God and in relationship to others. Submission of my thoughts, opinions, feelings, and style of life to the authority of the Word of God in obedience is what Biblical humility is all about. Biblical humility is all about being rooted deeply in Christ and His Word. Someone said, “to know yourself well, is to esteem yourself less.” John the Baptist sees Jesus walking by and points to him saying (John 3:30), “He must increase, I must decrease.” That pretty much sums it up.
It is one thing to intellectual know what biblical humility is, it is another thing to live it day by day. No matter how gifted or how clever a person may be, unless he or she is living under the authority of God’s Word, his or her effectiveness is only fleeting. This is what the apostle Paul is telling the Corinthians. Paul is telling the Corinthians that the way to be truly humble is to be willing to be the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 4).
To serve Christ is to serve His Words. The first concern and priority of a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is not how to please people but how to please the master, and for that reason, true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ have always been and will always be an enigma to the world. They would always be a paradox to this fallen world.
The world will never understand that the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ see the unseen; conquer by yielding; find rest when under His yoke; reign by serving; are made great by becoming little; are exalted by becoming humble; become wise by being fools for Jesus’s sake; are made free by becoming bondservant of Jesus Christ; possess all things by having nothing; are strong by being weak; triumph in defeat; have victory by glorying in infirmity; and live by dying. The world will never understand all that.
In fact, we should always be willing to take the risk of making a fool of ourselves even to the point that others might perceive us as idiots. To think about it, did Jesus, the Son of God, did He not look like an idiot when he hung on that cross for our sins, and looked down from the cross, especially when He looked at those who nailed Him to that cross and spat upon Him, and cried out saying, “crucify him!” Yet, above all else, for the greater good, He cried out to the Father saying, “Forgive them!” Did He not look like an idiot for our sake?
On the other hand, pride is the one sin that makes us self-conscious at all the time. There can be nothing more self-deceiving than pride. Someone once said, “pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except for the one person who has it.” Pride is like a weed that constantly grows and needs to be worked on every day.
A young man went on to work in his dad store after graduating from college. On his first day at work, his dad said to him, “Son, take the broom and sweep the floor.” With a baffled look on his face, the young man said to his dad, “I’m a college graduate!” The father replied, “Oh I’m sorry son, I forgot, don’t worry, I will teach you how.”
There is a story said about the great heavyweight boxing champion. Muhammed Ali, while flying on a plane was asked by a flight attendant to fasten his seatbelt, to which he replied, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” The flight attendant smiled and replied to him, “Superman don’t need no plane to fly.”
There is a saying, “swallow your pride.” But pride really is not something that is meant to be swallowed, it is there to be broken into pieces and offered as a sacrifice unto the Lord so He can replace it with godly purity, righteousness and true humility. A broken and a contrite heart the Lord will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
Humility is recognizing that our gift comes through us and not from us. Humility is confidence in God, whereas pride is confidence in self. Humility is to make the right estimate of one’s own self. As for me, may I never boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in the cross of Jesus Christ, His death, and resurrection, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal. 6:14).
The Lord Christ Jesus himself, the story of his earthly life should be our model for humility. The King of the universe, who created it all, came to this earth and emptied himself of all but love so to reunite us with the Holy God, the Father. In summary, He:
- Was born and raised in obscurity; had a stable for His birthplace and a manger for His cradle
- Lived and worked as a carpenter in a despised village of which people said (John 1:46), “can anything good come out of Nazareth”
- Had no organisation to support Him when He began His earthly ministry; preached without price; performed miracles without charge.
- At the end of his earthly ministry was sold for 30 pieces of silver, a price of selling a slave.
- Said foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20)
- Went about doing good and in return was crucified by being nailed with irons to a tree
- Even His burial clothes were a gift and His tomb was a borrowed one.
I know it is difficult for the natural mind to comprehend that the sinless God, the very God who created the universe can come to earth humbly as a baby in a virgin’s womb born in a manger, live for 33+ years, heal the sick, raise the dead, die on a cross, and rise up from the grave, it is so hard to imagine. And yet, He came so we can surrender completely to him all of our sins, guilt, shame, addiction, failures, sorrows, heartache, anger, lust, jealousy, envy, pride, fears, self-pity, depression, and all other burdens. He says, “give them to me, I want all your sins, I want to take them all away and set you free.”
At the cross, He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set Him free, but He died alone for you and me. Such love and humility all for humanity can only be defined as power under control. When humility is a deep characteristic of a person, then he or she would accept the trials, oppositions and humiliation that may come their way.
Thank God, the story (as written in John 19) does not end there when He said: “It is finished!” For Christ died to defeat death and is now sited before the throne of God above, interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:34). And that great day is coming, when the King of kings and Lord of lords will return, and His enemies will be made his footstool, and every knee shall bow and every tongue will acknowledge Him. On that great day, those who suffered for His namesake will rule and reign with Him. For this reason alone, we have every reason to be humble and remain humble till He returns or calls us home.
Here I am Lord, humbled by Your Majesty… There is a longing in my heart to walk with You in a closer way than I have ever walked before. Help me to lay my life down, the way You laid Your life down. Take the days that remain in my life, Lord let me serve You.