One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ earthly ministry is humility. This kind of humility is not superficial or hypocritical. It exhibits a genuine dependence on God the Father. Tyndale Bible dictionary said, “Humility is a grateful and spontaneous awareness that life is a gift, and it is manifested as an ungrudging and unhypocritical acknowledgment of absolute dependence upon God.” Jesus was about his Father’s business, and nothing could change that mindset. Humility as defines by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, “Lacking all signs of pride, aggressiveness, or self-assertiveness.”
My challenge like Paul’s is to develop a mind like Jesus, one marked by genuine humility.
Paul encouraged the Philippians to aspire to let the “mind of Christ” be their example. The principle of humility is the focus today. Even though Jesus knew the power he had, he “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.” What humility? We should put ourselves second to the will of God. I know I have a choice, but I will deny myself in obedience to following Christ. So many times we hear it is my right, someone limiting my right but if we are to truly follow Christ we have no rights outside of Christ. Jesus recognized who he was and what power was available to him, but instead of activating his power to ease the demand of the mission, he denied himself for the sake of the mission.
Humility is from the heart. Sometimes a person can refuse to accept a higher place but deep inside they long for that place. They do not genuinely want to give up the high places, but it looks good to those around him/her. Humility does not look for, seek after, or work for praise. Humility shows up even when no one knows or notices. Humility is demonstrated even when it is known that nothing would be gained. Humility is to know you can but deciding, not to without any intention of gaining anything. Paul said, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8). The Evangelical Dictionary states, “Humility is the foremost test of a truly great person or leader.” One cannot truly follow Christ without a heart of humility.
The Bible said Jesus emptied himself. He became unselfish by putting the mission first. What do we need to do to “empty ourselves” as Jesus did?
Humility is not just refusing complement, praise, recognition or a high place. A person can accept a compliment but is still humble. Humility is much more about your attitude as it is about your action. What is hidden is hard to assess and in that place there is true humility. It is all about the mind. It does not seek after the high seat but is content to sit in the low seat. Humility works in places where no recognition is or earthly reward is absent.
In the news lately is the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was a rich man, but abandons his riches to live a simple life, caring for the poor and suffering. During this Holy Week, I pray that we will strive to be like Jesus. We can accomplish this mind by being true to the teaching of Jesus.
The Bible in Matthew 20: 25-28 reminds us that we should not adopt the principles of the world, particular in these verses but follow Jesus.
“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be prominent among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
How then can I find true humility? I started a list, maybe you can add to it:
1. Establish a system of accountability within your ministry.
2. Always ask yourself, who or what are you comparing to God?
3. Keep in mind at all times that all we have accomplished is for the Glory of God.
4. Remind yourselves that every gift or ministry is given to us to advance the Kingdom of God.
5. Perform a constant and honest evaluation of your life, both good and bad.
6. Always check your motives.
7. Accept commendation but put it in perspective.
8. Remind ourselves that no matter how educated you are we still fall short of knowledge and wisdom of God.
9. Remind yourselves that you are not infallible.
10. Always keep two are three persons around you that will tell you the truth regardless.
11. Create an atmosphere of candidness in your ministry.
12. Perform frequent and constant self-evaluation.
13. Have others anonymously evaluate your work including frank discussion about your work.
14. Avoid false humility (refusing to accept praise for a job well done).
15. Maintain a selected group of prayer partners.
16. Hang around those that will challenge your knowledge and expertise.
17. Entertain questions about you and your ministry.
18. Watch out for pride, covetousness and greed.
Are there any other suggestions you can add to this list?
I pray today for a humble spirit. It is easy to develop a heart of pride, but I pray that you help me to humble myself before your throne. Lord, keep me humble because pride comes before a fall.