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Proud of Your Humility?


A man in deep thought


One of the older jokes among Christians is about the man who worked and worked at being humble until it finally happened.  He made progress and finally became humble.  And from that point on, he took great pride in his humility. 


The whole point in being humble is to be a person who doesn’t think about being humble.  Dwelling upon yourself and being focused on your own progress and growth can be self-defeating.  To “work” on your humility seems to sink the ship before it’s even left the port.  It implies a lot of focus on yourself.    And what is the one thing a humble person does not want to do:  focus on himself.  C.S. Lewis captured the nature of humility perfectly when he said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”


If anyone on the planet should be humble, it’s a Christian.  When we think about the all-encompassing sovereignty of God in all things, why would we even think about taking credit for anything good in our lives? 


A red sports car

Many feel good about the hard work they’ve put into their career, ministry or family.  The reasoning goes something like this: “Yes, God created me and gave me certain talents and skills.  But I’ve taken those talents and skills and developed them to a point where I’m successful.”  Or – “Yes, God gave me life.  But I took that life and made it what it is today.” To which Scripture would say, “Who gave you the drive to succeed?  Who gave you the ability to work hard?  Who gave you the determination to overcome adversity and fight through the tough things in life to become successful?”


To the Christians in Corinth, the Apostle Paul asks a very pointed question: “What do you have that you did not receive?”  (1 Corinthians 4:7b)   And then an even more pointed question:  “And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7b)  Any good that comes out of our lives is purely the result of God’s gracious enabling.


In no part of our lives is God’s gracious work more evident than in our salvation.  “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”  (Ephesians 2:4-5) Grace is simply God being kind to us and giving us something we don’t deserve.  Salvation is from start to finish a work of God.  We know that God is the one who has saved us, who is saving us and who will save us – “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)


When we consider all that God has done for us and is doing for us, how can we be anything but humble.  He creates us (Psalm 139;13-16).  He shows us the path of life. (Psalm 16:11). He saves us. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He sanctifies us fully. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) He protects us. (Psalm 91:11) He prays for us. (Romans 8:34) And He cares about us.” (1 Peter 5:7) Knowing the reality of God’s existence, the reality of heaven and hell, the hope laid up for us in the future – and the seriousness of life itself – we should be motivated to serve the Lord and live the Christian life in complete humility.   

 

a table with a book and coffee cup

Our model in all of this is Jesus himself.  The Apostle Paul writes this in Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” The basis for our humility is found in Jesus himself. 


Philippians 2:5-8 continues Paul’s thought: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!"

 

Jesus left his throne of glory and humbled himself by becoming a creature in the world he created.  From majesty to a manger, from a throne to some thorns, from exaltation to humiliation, Jesus humbled himself to become one of us – die in our place – and gather a people for himself.

 

Knowing who God is and what He has done in our lives leaves us no choice but to live humbly before the Lord each day and give him all the glory for the good things we see in our lives.                  

 

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