by Ann Robinson-Worley
What is humility? Humility means “the state of being humble.” Both it and humble have their origin in the Latin word humilis, meaning "low." It describes a person who is devoid of all arrogance and self-exaltation.
A person who is willingly submitted to God and His will. Humility keeps us from walking our own path, from living life how we see fit instead of how God wants us to live. We are called to be humble followers of Christ and trust in His wisdom and salvation. Humility is a very important virtue that every Christian should possess.
You cannot be a successful spiritual leader if you do not know how to be humble.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2) St. Thomas Aquinas, an influential medieval theologian, described four potential manifestations of self-centered pride that oppose humility. He defined pride as being self-exalting, self-creating, self-serving, and self-building. Each form of conceit magnifies a personal excellence above the humble nature of Christ.
The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5), and “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
True humility is being willing to give up everything that comes from your self in order to be obedient to God, and do His will. True humility is the attitude that we can learn from Jesus: “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42. If you want to be great then the direction you must go is down. You must descend and be brought low into that greatness. The more you lose yourself the more you gain because you have abandoned your self-will. The bible tells us of how the Apostles were asking Jesus who would become the greatest in the kingdom and Jesus said ,"Believe me,” he said, “unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man or woman who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven." (Matt 18:2-4) " Jesus sat down and called the twelve, and said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.” (Matt 9:35) " But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen lord it over them and that their great ones have absolute power? But it must not be so among you. No, whoever among you wants to be great must become the servant of you all, and if he wants to be first among you he must be your slave—just as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life to set many others free.” (Matt 20:25-28)
We must begin our understanding of humility with a sense of our subordination to God in Christ.
"The disciple is not superior to his teacher any more than the servant is superior to his master, for what is good enough for the teacher is good enough for the disciple as well, and the servant will not fare better than his master. If men call the master of the household the ‘Prince of Evil’, what sort of names will they give to his Servants? But never let them frighten you, for there is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed nor anything private which will not be made public. The things I tell you in the dark you must say in the daylight, and the things you hear in your private ear you must proclaim from the house-tops. " (Matt 10:24-27)
We must serve one another by following Christ's example of humility.
Apostle Paul appealed to believers by saying " Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name"
( Phil 2:3-7) Made himself of no reputation comes from the Greek word ekenesen, which means to divest one's self of one's prerogatives, abase one's self, to empty one's self of one's privileges.
Christ described how humility is demonstrated when he washed their feet. " By supper-time, the devil had already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the mind of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son. Jesus, with the full knowledge that the Father had put everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from the supper-table, took off his outer clothes, picked up a towel and fastened it round his waist. Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel around his waist." (John 13:5) " When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his clothes, he sat down and spoke to them, “Do you realize what I have just done to you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and you are quite right, for I am your teacher and your Lord. But if I, your teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you must be ready to wash one another’s feet. I have given you this as an example so that you may do as I have done. Believe me, the servant is not greater than his master and the messenger is not greater than the man who sent him. Once you have realized these things, you will find your happiness in doing them." (John 13:12-17) Usually a servant performed the menial task of washing the guest's feet but since no servant was present and no one else would assume the role, Jesus used this occasion to teach a lesson in humility and selfless service. Jesus was showing great concern that the meaning of true servanthood and humility be understood. He demonstrated that no one was to deem it beneath themselves to perform the most menial of tasks for others.
We must have the same mindset as Christ if we are to see progress in our lives. Jesus said "“How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! (Matt 5:2)
“Believe me, no one greater than John the Baptist has ever been born of all mankind, and yet a humble member of the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." (Matt 11:11) “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word." (Isaiah 66:1-2) He is ever looking throughout the earth to see those who are humbling themselves before Him. “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:6-8, 10)
By surrendering our own will He will give us the grace to fulfill and accomplish His mighty works in this end time hour. Jesus said " O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt 26:39) Jesus was given the grace to complete the supreme sacrifice by submitting his will to the Father's will.
Humility and submission go hand in hand. As Christians we are to submit ourselves one onto another in fear and admonition of the Lord. " The only ‘superior’ among you is the one who serves the others. For every man who promotes himself will be humbled, and every man who learns to be humble will find promotion." (Matt 23:12) You younger members must also submit to the elders. Indeed all of you should defer to one another and wear the “overall” of humility in serving each other. ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up!" (1 Peter 5:5-6)
When we clothe ourselves with humility it creates peace and unity in the Body of Christ. "Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you. Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves. None of you should think only of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other people’s point of view." (Phil 2:3-4) " Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high, and has given him the name beyond all names, so that at the name of Jesus “every knee shall bow”, whether in Heaven or earth or under the earth. And that is why, in the end, “every tongue shall confess” that Jesus Christ” is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:5-11)
"We who have strong faith ought to shoulder the burden of the doubts and qualms of others and not just to go our own sweet way. Our actions should mean the good of others—should help them to build up their characters. For even Christ did not choose his own pleasure, but as it is written: “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (Rom 15:1-3) " Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails." (1 Cor 13:5-6)