As we close out our quarter delving into the relationships in our lives, one last encouragement is in order. If we want our relationships to be characterized by love and caring, then we may want to grow the presence of humility in our lives.
Humility is not what we typically think it is.
Humility is typically associated with meekness and timidity. We get a hint of this when we read in Scripture that “…Moses was very meek (humble), above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3 King James Version) Another example comes from Jesus, when he tells his disciples, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek (humble) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29 King James Version.)
However, the great author, C.S. Lewis, wrote in his book, Mere Christianity that humility is really the opposite of what we might perceive it to be:
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
And the popular Christian author Rick Warren, explained in The Purpose Driven Life, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” (p. 97) Lewis’ and Warren’s writings consider that humility is not what most people think it is.
How do we think of ourselves less?
Isn’t that virtually impossible? The truth is, growing in humility is a lifetime endeavor. The clearest way to become humble is to be in deep relationship with God; however, there are things we can actively do that help keep us pointed in the right direction.
Consider these actions:
- Do anonymous good deeds regularly.
- Consciously elevate others regularly through your speech and through your action.
- Take on the role of a servant when you don’t need to.
- Associate with those in lesser positions of status than yourself.
- Be willing to be taught and to take advice.
- Become a voracious listener.
- Regularly confess your sins to God.
- Regularly confess your sins to another person.
In his letter to the Philippines, Paul shows us that Jesus modeled this very behaviour for us. He actively engaged in all the points above. He regularly associated with those in a lesser position of status, he was a voracious listener, he regularly did good deeds — he truly served his community and continues to serve us all to this day.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and…humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [And] God…highly exalted him, and [gave] him a name which is above every name…” Philippians 2:5-9 King James Version
How can you “think of yourself less?” What are some actions you can start to implement in your own life that will help you experience the humility of Christ?