In a blog entry a couple of weeks ago, I described how self-service is incompatible with a life lived humbly. Because this principle, or way of life, is so critical to Christians, especially Christian leaders or those having authority or rank in some way, I thought it appropriate to revisit and even reexamine this keystone character trait.
For starters, here are a few observations about humility:
1. Becoming the least makes us the greatest in the Kingdom
This isn’t a philosophical maxim, this is a statement that Jesus makes to his disciples after James and John inquire about becoming ‘great.’
2. Humility can coexist with power and authority
With Jesus as the model for this very fact, we know it to be true and worth reaching for. It was personified in the gospels by having the power to cast out demons or wilt fig trees yet having the humility (even on the night in which he was betrayed) to wash the disciples’ feet.
3. It’s a rare spiritual characteristic
I believe that humility is most elusive, compared to other gifts, behaviors or spiritual qualities. Humility requires a constant dying to self. In my view, this requires more maturity than prophecy healing, or discernment.
4. The world doesn’t welcome it
Humility can and will seem strange to the world. Rank, title, education, ambition, success, etc. fuel worldly people; it doesn’t make sense to these people then to make oneself low in order that someone or something else is exalted.
5. It’s not listed as a spiritual fruit or gift
Why does humility not show up in Galatians 5:22-23 and 1st Corinthians 12? I believe it doesn’t because it’s not as much a specific manifestation of the Spirit as it is an essential and overarching reflection of faith. Could one access the fruits of the Spirit or function in the gifts of the Spirit fully without humility? I think not, but I do think that humility is elementary in moving on to maturity and a spiritual posture where the fruits and gifts of the Spirit are natural. You wouldn’t expect a haughty, selfish, and partial person to live out Galatians 5:22-23 would you?
6. Humility is, at least in part, a product of wisdom
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2)
This proverb provides a key into what a lack of humility will cause and what it will eventually result in: pride and disgrace, respectively.
If my recent fascination with humility isn’t evidence enough, suffice it to say that I deeply desire it for myself, the members of my team and every single leader out there. Imagine a Church, or more broadly, a world, that did not have to deal with the junk that comes with self-service. I encourage you to take a moment today and consider what steps you can be intentional to take, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to become less concerned with yourself and more concerned about others.
In the below video clip, Bill Johnson, Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, delivers a powerful summary of Godly humility and God-willed community.
“If I’m humble (hungry) I’m in a position to receive, if I’m arrogant it has to come to me directly.” –Bill Johnson
Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org