Why is it that things such as humility are so hard? Is it our culture which engrains in us the notion that we must be brash in order to be bold? Is it the idea that only the fittest survive? Whatever the cause, there is a severe dearth of humility both in the world as well as among Christians.
If, upon meeting you, my first and predominant response is to lay you out on the spiritual exam table, strap you down and find whatever your deep hidden problems are; am I really manifesting love in humility or feeding my inner desire to show you how great I am? If all I am interested in is "fixing you", it doesn't take long for you grow weary of me and run to someone else.
Television is full of doctors of all kinds demonstrating how smart they are by their ability to quickly diagnose deeply rooted disorders and then provide cookie cutter answers and solutions. This "one size fits all" and extremely impersonal approach to solving intense personal problems clearly indicates a lack of humility and the corresponding abundance of pride and arrogance.
Just as Jesus said it would be nigh unto impossible for a rich person to ever get saved, so it is with those who devote years upon years to secular study. In the same way a person with much money feels they have no need for a Savior or that they can buy their way to heaven; so the person who has a mind full of secular knowledge tends to believe they are smarter than God and have no need to humble themselves before Him.
When one looks at the life of the apostle Paul, it is very clear that he had much unlearning and huge changes to make in his attitude and thinking to ever accept the Lord and then serve him. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:4-6 about his credentials:
"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."
When these credentials are coupled with Paul being a Roman citizen; he was obviously on the fast track to high and mighty positions of power either religiously or secularly. Paul did not need a Savior for he was his own. God knew that no man could persuade Paul so He did it Himself as recorded various places in the Book of Acts.
Of all the things Paul had to learn, far and away the most difficult was humility. When Paul accepted Christ all his years of education and training didn't suddenly melt in a pool of humility. To the contrary, one of the very first things God demanded Paul do was to go spend an extended period of time out in the wilderness all alone. There were many things Paul had to come to grips with in his life; his pride, arrogance and above all the realization he had personally killed many Christians.
Before Paul could be entrusted with the ministry to the Gentiles, he had to spend years upon years in his hometown unlearning much of what he had spent his life learning and being instructed by his elders on his new faith. Paul didn't go from arresting and killing Christians one day to boldly preaching the Gospel the next. It took YEARS of preparation before he was ready to embark on the journeys that occupy much of the Book of Acts.
It took Moses 40 years of preparation before he was ready to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Mainly it took that long for his stubborn pride to be broken so he would allow God to lead him. It took years upon years of him tending the flocks before he was ready to not only lead but more importantly FOLLOW.
The greatest leader is the greatest FOLLOWER. Before Peter, John and the others mentioned so prominently in Acts were able to lead, they had to spend over three years FOLLOWING Jesus as disciples. They had to learn to FOLLOW before they could even dream of leading God's people. Learning to FOLLOW is equal to leaning humility.
Humility in service is the only way to be a true leader of God's peopleÂ€Â”whether officially as a pastor or unofficially as a lay leader. It takes great humility to honestly work with a young believer who is loaded with questions and problems. It takes great humility to manifest the boldness needed at times to show an older believer they have strayed. Without humility, these things turn into clinical experiments that Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz would be proud of.
If you want to genuinely be a leader of God's people in any capacity, you MUST learn what Paul learned and be able to say what he said in Philippians 3:7-9:
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
I had a friend years back that used to wear a t-shirt that read: 'It is hard to be humble, when you are as perfect as I am.' (No pride there, huh?) No doubt that blinding light and run-in on the road to Damascus, made a lot of difference. Paul used his learning and gifts well after his conversion. He would blow holes in any theology that would come along, then and now, if one studied his entire teachings. Some of the doctrines folks use now, is where they took one instance of his teaching in one of his epistles, and use it, but ignore the very same topic, in the other epistles that he wrote, and many times, the very same one.
Anyhow, it is clear through Jesus Christ, we have access to all that we possibly need, and all comes through Him. Only one being led of the Holy Spirit, will have true humility, I believe. Pride is what comes when led by the flesh. Gal. 5:16-26. The difference is in verses 24 and 25. At least that is where I find the strength of humility. We are slaves, to Christ, and I for one, am honored to be one. God Bless Brother.
Thanks for sharing B2Y! One of our youth pastors gave a sermon on humility last night. He asked what the opposite of pride is and one of the kids said humility! We need to understand that humility is a strength; we are in reverant awe of Him! Being meek is another strength. Look where pride took Satan! King Uzziah, and countless others! Pride,along with envy, strife, and so on are weaknesses. Proverbs 22:4 By humility and fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. God Bless you, sir! Amen! Dave
Humility comes when believer's recognize the person, power, and presence of a living Christ. Recognition of Christ reduces man to a state of humility. The effectual work of Christ in the human soul cuts away the hardness and haughtiness that man is born with. Humility comes from the power of God's Grace. Christians have a state of humility because Christ had humility. The moral make-up of a child of God is created in a state of humility. Humility is God-given...because Christ is alive and Christ makes us new creations. Humility gives you this witness of a child of God not a child of the Devil! Humility is based on Love! Love for God and love for humanity! Humility wins men to Christ. The world doesn't know what humility is! Humility allows Christians to make the long haul! This subject makes me happy because in humility I see Christ! Hallelujia! Glory!
When we were working with teens in a Christian theatre company, every year my husband would have a chat with them about servanthood which goes hand in hand with humility. These kids would get up and perform in front of thousands of students every year across the upper midwest. As you can imagine, egos could be a huge problem. He showed them a pyramid detailing hierarchy as defined by the world. "You" of course were at the top. Then he showed them hierarchy as defined by God. You guessed it. You were not at the top for we are not called to be served, we are called to serve!