True Humility

The Example of Jesus

Scripture emphasizes the humility of Jesus Christ.  We're told in Philippians 2:8 that "though He existed in the form of God," Christ humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross.  Apart from His death, Jesus gave us an example of humility when He washed the discipIes' feet.  In Jesus' day, washing feet was one of the lowliest tasks for the lowliest of servants, yet Jesus willingly did it for the disciples. What I find interesting is what is said about Jesus just before He washed their feet:

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God, rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about.  Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:3-5 NASB)

We're told that Jesus did this knowing three things. First, He knew that the Father had given Him everything. Everything belonged to Him. He knew that He was Lord of lords and King of kings. As He said in Matthew 28:18, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Second, He knew that He had come from God. He was well aware of His origin. He knew that He was not an ordinary man, but that He was the Son of God. Third, He knew that He was going back to God. He knew His destiny. He knew that He would be exalted to the highest place. He knew that at His name every knee would bow and every tongue would confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

Knowing these things about Himself, Jesus humbled Himself and became a lowly servant to His disciples, washing their feet. The point is that humility does not mean denying who you are and what you can do. Sometimes we think that humility means we must think and say that we are no good, worthless, witless, talentless, hapless, hopeless, good-for-nothing ne'er-do-wells. No, humility does not require this. If anything, humility requires that we understand and admit who we are and what strengths, talents and abilities we have. Why? Because we will only serve others humbly if we know we have something to give. If someone truly has nothing to give, we expect nothing from them. If someone is in a coma, we do not expect them to serve anyone in any way. If you know who you are and what you can do, then you can willingly set aside your sense of self-importance (your pride) and decide to humble yourself to serve others.

Pride is a funny thing because it both keeps us from serving others and keeps us from allowing others to serve us. It is that sense of self-importance and self-sufficiency that says that I am too important to serve others in simple ways and I am so self-reliant that I don't need the help of others. This is the attitude God opposes in us (James 4:6).

Paul points to the example of Christ in Philippians 2:5-8, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

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