Philippians 2:5-8 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
When our five kids were little, we spent a lot of time reading to them, especially at bedtime. A friend recommended a large children’s book that compiled many of the great moral stories from the history of Western civilization. Each story was intended to instill a particular moral virtue in a child. At that same time, I was teaching in the book of Proverbs and kept seeing the fact that God opposes pride and gives grace to the humble. So, I double checked the children’s storybook only to find that the one virtue missing was humility!
The only book that really celebrates humility as a virtue is the Bible. That book stands against our world’s devotion to self-esteem, self-improvement, and self-actualization by revealing the humility of Jesus Christ.
What is humility? As an uncertain author once wrote, humility is not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking of yourself less. This allows you to think of God and others more. Because of sinfulness in our fallen world, pride is like gravity constantly seeking to pull us down and must be fought against. Here is a contrast between pride and humility:
Our greatest enemy Our greatest friend
Compares to others Compares to Jesus
Criticizes others’ success Celebrates others’ success
About me About Jesus & others
Independent living Dependent living
A destination A direction
We don’t become humble by focusing on our pride. We do become humble by focusing on Jesus’ humility. Jesus Christ is the greatest Person in history because He’s the most humble. Jesus Christ is the most beloved Person because He’s the most humble. Jesus humbly left a throne in heaven, being worshipped by angels, to enter His creation as a baby in a manger surrounded by animals. As a kid, God obeyed His parents and did His chores. As a man, God worked as a carpenter with his father Joseph. Eventually, in humility, our humble homeless Savior died for our sins and rose for our salvation. Today, He has returned to glory but continues to gladly serve us humbly by forgiving our sin, hearing our prayers, and humbly preparing an eternal home where everything will be perfect and provided as gifts from the God who is humble enough to help us.
On a sliding scale, are you more proud or humble?