Humility

rose-419079_640Matthew 18:4: Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Paul wrote to the Romans about how humility is related to renewal of the mind, being an outflow of the transformation that emanates from that process (Romans 12).

He said that the path of the renewal of the mind will establish them in the will of God. He hinted at the fact that the mind is not truly renewed unless we do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to. Humility or pride is rooted in how you think of yourself, especially in relation to others.

Then he listed the gifts operational in the body of Christ, which is different from one person to another, which we should use to serve others. The disposition to serve another is an indication of humility.

And there is another side to that. Since all the gifts are not domiciled in an individual, it means that the other person is better than you in some way. Think about that. It means the other person can offer you what you cannot offer yourself. Paul puts it this way: think about yourself with humility. You are not all in all, you are limited.

With regards to the operating of the gift through us, Paul said we need to recognise that they are manifestation of the measure of grace and faith that we have received.

Therefore there is no allowance for boasting. When we recognise our limitation, we live our lives like an arrow, sharp and on point, not dissipating energy on activities that we do not have the supply of ability from God for, and we do with the exertion of the flesh. Paul said that he does not fight as one beating the air (1Corinthians 9:24-26). It is humility not to think you can everything.

Paul said that we should have the same mind of humility that Jesus Christ possesses, because though he was God and without limit, he humbled himself to take on the form of humanity (and the attendant limitations) and to suffer death on the cross, in obedience to the father (Philippians 2:5-11).

He first humbled himself to take on humanity, and he further humbled himself because he needed to pay for the sin of humanity by going to the cross, which was “pain and death.”

A life of obedience to God is a life of humility. And Jesus being an example of obedience expressed great humility. Paul said we should have the same disposition like Jesus, who was not defined by the exterior but by the inner content. He did not try to prove himself to others but was content to be what God has called him to be per time.

And God raised him up, lifted him up and made him to become all there is to become in spiritual height. But he first humbled himself as an example for us all of what the key to divine elevation is.

Jesus also said the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all (Mark 10:35-45). Again humility is about service and service and greatness are intertwined in the mind of God.

Note that before Paul associated humility with the expression of spiritual gifts, he talked about being living sacrifices. That means we die to our ambition, our own personal intentions, it is in that context that we can fully express the spiritual gifts which were released when Jesus ascended to heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10).

Paul wrote: he ascended on high and gave gifts to men. He had served us in the death on the cross and he wants us to serve one another, hence the gifts he gave us. And he is he still serving us now. The bible says that he ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). The gifts are testimonies of the ascension of Jesus. They are testimonies of the resurrection of Jesus, of the resurrection life at work in us, through faith and by the gift of God’s grace. They are the fruit of the humility of Jesus in our lives.

Peter talked about humility as a major qualification for God’s lifting, saying his “default setting” is to resist the proud, while giving grace to the humble (1Peter 5:5).

Humility is both in relationship to God and to others. It is regarding others more highly than ourselves and it is submission to God.

Saul showed his proud heart when instead of obeying God, he found it convenient to modify the instruction he was given. And he fell from grace because of that. He should he could not submit to God.

Humility for Adam and Eve would have been to obey the word of God in the face of temptation from the devil, rejecting any other opinion for God’s word (Genesis 3).

God said that he associate with the one who trembles at his word (Isaiah 66:2). So how you regard the word of God is an indication of your humility or lack of it. Jesus said that it is not about calling him lord but doing what he says (Luke 6:46).

Humility towards man involves submitting to leadership, and recognition of authority figures giving them the due regard (Romans 13:6-7). Paul wrote of the need to render to others what is due to them, for example, we should respect constituted authority and not become social misfits. He also said that we should submit one to another, expressing the humility of Christ to others (Ephesians 5:21).

The wife should submit to her own husband, as the church is submitted to Christ, giving him respect. The children are supposed to obey their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4).

Pride and rebellion go together. We read that he who is commonly corrected but does not yield will suddenly be destroyed and without remedy (Proverbs 29:1).

Humility is seen by the words we speak. In the book of Proverbs we read: let another man praise you and not your own mouth (Proverbs 27:2). Paul said if we realise that we do not have anything that we have not been given then we will not boast (1Corinthians 4:7).

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