Let me ask you a question: Was Jesus humble? Did He exhibit pride in any of His behavior? I think we can all agree that Jesus is our perfect example of true humility. Paul certainly agreed in his letter to the Philippians:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
Three truths about humility that were exhibited by Jesus:
- True humility involves becoming a servant.
This is what Jesus did when He came to die for our sins. He even demonstrated his humble character when He washed the feet of the disciples. When we consider the needs of others above our own (Philippians 2:3-4), we are demonstrating a true servant’s heart. And while this may seem counter-cultural in a world that teaches us to take care of our own needs first, this servant-like attitude is what Jesus conveyed to the world when He left His riches in heaven to be born in a manger and serve us willingly with His life.
- True humility means having an obedient heart.
In Philippians, Paul tells us that Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.” Do we have an obedient heart? Or does my heart long to rebel? When my daughters choose to obey me it’s because they are choosing to be humble, but when they disobey it’s as if they are saying, “No. I want to do it MY way.” In essence, this is the very definition of pride. My way is better. But humility says, “Your way is better.” And we all know deep down that God’s way is ALWAYS better.
- True humility means knowing where your gifts and talents come from and understanding your place in the body of believers.
In Romans 12:3-8, Paul reminds us not to think of ourselves more highly than we are and to use “sober judgement” when we take a look at our lives. In context, he’s talking about our place in the body of Christ. He was addressing believers who were saying that certain gifts of the Spirit were superior to others – that in the body, some parts were simply more important. To be humble, however, means recognizing that God values every one of His children the same. It doesn’t matter how you serve Him, you are crucial to the body of Christ.
My daughter has a favorite blanket – her “Pooh blankie.” This thing is carried around the house day and night. She never leaves home without it. To her, this blanket means everything. The other day, she spilled chocolate milk all over it. It was dirty and needed to be washed. (And if you’re a mom, you know the battle I faced trying to convince her to give up her blanket for an hour or two so it could be washed! Tears. Lots and lots of tears.) Dirty or not, that blanket still held it’s value to my little girl. She loved it no less even though it was dirty.
Even when you were dirty with sin, God LOVED you. In His eyes, you still held your value. You were dirty and in need of a Savior, but He still beheld you as His beloved creation.
Humility is never self-loathing. It never says, “I’m worth nothing.” You were dirty, and your attempts to be righteous on your own couldn’t make you clean. But you were still loved by God, so much so that He sent His Son to die so that you could be washed by the blood of the Lamb.
In our attempt to be humble as Christians, it’s easy to put ourselves down. We say things like, “God you are everything, and I am nothing.” And while it’s true that God is everything; it’s not true that you are nothing. If you were nothing, why did Jesus die for you? If you were worthless, why go through all that pain and suffering?
You bear the image of God. He saw you as a person of value even before you turned to Him as your Savior. Perhaps a better thing to say would be, “God, you are everything, and I am humbled by Your love for me. Here I am, your servant, ready and willing to be used by You and to be obedient to Your call on my life.”
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8 (NIV)
Click here for a full list of posts in my 31-day series!