“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12
The world we live in popularizes being great at all things, being better than those you are competing against, and celebrating our achievements with tweets, posts, and conversations. We want the opportunity to “do great things.” Christianity has a different view: if you want to be great, you must have the humility to be a servant. C.S. Lewis once said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he wanted them to know the value of humility and being a true servant. “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). He knew that a faithful follower of Jesus was to clothe themselves in humility.
Jesus Christ had every opportunity to grab hold of status, power, and authority. Jesus was God and deserved to stay in heaven. Yet, out of His great love for us, He chose to come to earth as a human. Jesus even chose to obey God to the point of dying an embarrassing and painful death on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the perfect example of humility, and we are to follow His example. Now, can we follow His example perfectly? No. Only Jesus can be perfectly humble, but because of His humility, He offers us salvation and forgiveness for all the times we’re not perfect. While our imperfect humility can’t bring salvation to others, as Jesus’ perfect humility did, it can help others want to know more about our God.
But it isn’t easy to be humble, even if you are. What is there about us that makes us want to receive credit? Why do we tend to compare ourselves to others? Why are we prone to find fault with others? In those times, in fact, in all times, we need to remember that Jesus became nothing during His life on earth, and He gives us His example so that we may follow in His steps. As John the Baptist said, ”He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30)
Humility is recognizing that everything I have and need comes from God. It’s an attitude of heart that affects everything a person does and says. To be humble is to realize how weak and helpless we are to change the course of our lives in our power. It’s to ask God for His forgiveness and to trust Him for His guidance. That’s what He wants to see abiding in our hearts. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
- Read Philippians 2:3-4. How do these verses describe humility? (not being selfish or trying to impress, thinking of others, taking an interest in others) Why is it hard for us not to think about ourselves first?
- What can we do to remember who God is and who we are?