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- All Christians begin their adventure of faith by seeking a new self-image, with the imitation of Christ as the primary goal of life, Romans 8:28, 29. This process of transformation of character is accomplished through a central focus on humility.
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- Christ died unto himself, denied himself completely, to carry out a mission for God.
- Philippians 2:5–8: Let
this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Citations KJV unless indicated)
- Christ gave God, the Father, all honor and glory and was entirely subordinate to him, John 5:19,30,41: Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise…I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me…I receive not honour from men; cf. 6:38; 7:16,28; 8:28,42,50; 14:10:24.
- Taking on humility in our relations with others is an important part of dying to ourselves in imitating Christ through his death.
- Romans 6:3,11: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death . . . Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Philippians 2:3–5: Let
nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
- However, just as Christ was exalted for his humility, so his followers shall be lifted up for humbling themselves.
- Philippians 2:9,10: Wherefore
God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
- James 4:10: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
- I Peter 5:6,7: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
- Humility was a major emphasis of Christ’s teaching.
- Luke 14:7–11: So
he told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; And he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (NKJV) Cf. Matthew 5:3,5; 11:29; Luke 9:48.
- Luke 18:9–14: And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
- Matthew 12:11: But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
- Luke 22:24–27: And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
- John 13:12–17: So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another‘s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
- The apostle Paul also emphasized humility in his teachings.
- Romans 12:10,16: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
- I Corinthians 13:3,5: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.
- Galatians 5:13: For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
- Ephesians 4:2; 5:20,21: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
- Colossians 3:12,13: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
- What is Christian humility?
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- The Christian experience becomes beautiful and blessed, when we realize how God is everything in life. Then, embracing a sense of being nothing to make way for God to be all seems completely natural. For Christians, this awareness of the nothingness of ourselves to experience the richness of life through God is the essence of humility.
- Matthew 18:4: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- II Corinthians 12:9,10: And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ‘s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
- Hebrews 12:2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Humility is the mark of being a true disciple of Christ. It is God-like to humble oneself to be a servant to all. As pride caused the fall, Christ came to bring humility back to the human nature. As humility formed the basis of Christ’s relationship to God, so it must be at the foundation of our fellowship with him. It is a requirement of being in his presence and a essential part of loving others and knowing effective faith.
- I Corinthians 13:4,5: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own….
- Matthew 8:5–10: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
- Matthew 15:22–28: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
- Many believers experience Christ without true humility. Many church leaders are actually proud people, without a proper understanding of the nature of humility or its importance to being Christian. Thus, very often Christians are not who they should be, nor do they know how to practice humility.
- Although Christ’s disciples were with him for three years, they were slow in understanding his instruction on humility.
- Luke 22:24–27: And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
- Luke 5:8,9: When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus‘ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.
- Some people try to learn humility by staying preoccupied with their sin, as others frequently reference their sinfulness to try to disguise their pride, but the apostle Paul regarded himself as a sinner only in emphasizing the greatness of God’s grace, and he also made reference to his faultless life.
- I Timothy 1:13–15: Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am
- I Corinthians 15:9,10: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
- Ephesians 3:8: Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
- Romans 7:18 and 8:2: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not …For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
- I Thessalonians 2:10: Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
- II Corinthians 1:12: For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
- Many believers only know a superficial sense of humility.
- They struggle to understand how they can be humble, when they are so gifted, when they are so obviously far beyond where other people are in life.
- Often their attitude is unconscious, but still expressed in their way of speaking to and dealing with others.
- They are too self-focused to understand how in reality they are nothing in themselves and to have the desire to let God be everything.
- Then, how does the Christian acquire true humility?
- Humility must be the object of special desire and made a part of our character through prayer, faith, study, and discipline.
- Pride is an essential part of the Adamic nature, a terrible inner force with a Satanic origin. We must depend on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to acquire humility.
- We must acknowledge that there‘s nothing good in ourselves, except as we are a servant unto God, Mark 10:18; Romans 7:18. We must let our natural self die in order to become a vessel to the glory of God.
- Thirst for God and be possessed by the Holy Spirit. Death of the natural person apart from God within us is the mark of humility. When that happens, always esteeming the other person as being better will come about with ease, Philippians 2:3.
1. Andrew Murray, Humility — New Kingston: Whitaker House, 1982.
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Seeking Christian Humility constitutes a chapter from Church Essential: Relevant Issues for a Spiritual Community. Copyright 2004 by Montgomery Paul Webb. All rights reserved. However, permission is granted solely to private individuals to make ten copies of any disc containing this book, to include whatever other publications are available therein from the Church of the Love of Christ, for distribution to friends and acquaintances, on the conditions — 1. that the entirety of the contents of the disc is copied;— 2. and that absolutely no change, addition, or omission is made.
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Chapters include — Introduction | What Is the Non-Institutional Church? | What Is Love? | Seeking Christian Humility | The Image of Woman in Scripture | Corinthians Un-Compromised | A Brief Synopsis of Jonathan Edwards’ RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS. | Charles Finney on Evangelism: Brief Synopses of REVIVAL FIRE and POWER FROM GOD.
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