Before Honor Is Humility

Dear Brethren,

What is humility, and how important is humility in our Christian lives?  The apostle, Peter, urges us to "be clothed with humility, "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."  (1Peter 5:5-6)

Here is the Biblical definition of humility:  Paul warns us that none of us should, "think of himself more highly than he ought."  (Romans 12:3).  When we are young – we were apt to think, "I did it all myself."  Perhaps we thought to ourselves, "I am a self-made man."  Humility is learning the opposite:  We are not self-sufficient.  Not only does Paul warn us not to compare ourselves among ourselves in 2Corinthians 10:12, he adds rather,  "In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."  (Philippians 2:3)

The best example of humility is Jesus Christ’s example.  "Being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."  (Philippians 2:8)  Paul also put it this way:  “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."  (2Corinthians 8:9)

Our human nature wants us to be somebody, to have things our way.  Human nature wants to be boss.  Human nature wants to look good.  Humility, on the other hand, is being down to earth and free of pretense.  Human nature wants the attention and the “lime light.”  Human nature wants to be recognized and rewarded.  Human nature is status-conscious.

Godly humility is accepting ourselves as we truly are, so that we feel no urge to inflate our social status or to pretend to be something more than we really are.  Our human nature wants us to go up  the ladder of success, and to have the high position or rank.  Just like Diotrephes in III John - human nature wants the preeminence.

Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation.  He became the lowest of the low.  Humility for us is showing God that we willingly take on the “dirty jobs” that no one else wants to do, without seeking the credit.  "Let this mind [a humble mind] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, like a man . . . made Himself of no reputation [humility] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."  (Philippians 2:5-8)

Our Christianity requires that we don’t become frustrated or get angry because we think we haven't been given a sufficiently prestigious assignment at work, at home, or at play.  God says humility is a basic requirement that He expects of us:  "What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"  (Micah 6:8)

Pride is the enemy of humility.  Pride is the opposite of humility.  Human nature wants to be advanced and honored.  "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."   (Proverbs 15:33)


Sermon:  "Before Honor Is Humility"