I have heard it said of humility that once you believe you’ve gotten it you’ve lost it. That thought has always amused me. Years ago I read a small book written by Andrew Murray simply titled Humility. Although it is one of the shortest books I have read since grade school, it is a storehouse of knowledge on the subject. Murray writes,
“If humility be the secret of His atonement, then the health and strength of our spiritual life will entirely depend on putting this grace first too.”
Jesus describing Himself stated that He was, “gentle and humble in heart” (Matt 11:29). It would be inconsistent to have a Savior who is the model of humility and claim to be followers of His who seek to be any less.
I remember an encounter with such a reflection of Christ’s humility. I was only a couple of years into my first pastorate when I met up with a friend at a leadership conference. He was an acquaintance of a well-known leader I had always wanted to meet. My friend pointed at a row and asked me to choose which one of the individuals sitting in a particular row I believed him to be. I had never seen him before. I had only heard about him and read some of his writings. Confidently, I pointed at a person, and my friend said I was incorrect. I guessed a couple more times until finally I gave up and asked him to point out the leader to me. The person, my friend, pointed out to me seemed to be one of the most unassuming individuals in the row. He did not have the face of the most determined. He was not expounding leadership wisdom while others listened. He was sitting, quietly listening to the others in his group. I understood a bit what the prophet must have gone through when he was instructed by God to anoint one of Jesse’s sons king of Israel. Samuel had thought it would be the oldest or the strongest and on and on, but discovered how God chooses a man or woman. The Lord looks for a person after His own heart (see: Acts 13:22). Many years later I had the opportunity to get to know this particular leader and discovered him to be as humble as he appeared to be years earlier. The world needs to see more leaders who reflect Christ’s humility.
Lance Witt in his book Replenish suggests four practical means by which we can embrace humility.
- Make much of Jesus.
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)
- Work hard at praising others and not yourself.
- Be interested in others more and interested in yourself less.
- Stay in touch with grace. Witt explains, “Never get over what it means that God loves you and saved you and adopted you into His family.”
I have to admit that I have not mastered humility, but I am committed to continuing to grow in this grace. I want to reflect Christ in every way. The Lord’s decision to leave the splendors of heaven, take upon Himself humanity, with the purpose of stretching out His hands on the cross for my salvation humbles me. I pray, Lord, make me “gentle and humble in heart.”
It is my honor to serve with each of you. I pray that each of us is both confident in Christ and humble in spirit. I pray the evidence of such a life is our generous living and extravagant love towards God and other. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!
Be blessed and bless others