We live in a world where people are in love with their selfies. True humility is hard to find. What is it? Where can we find it? Read on to find some wisdom from the words of Philippians 2.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of words that describe the Apostle Paul, “humble” isn’t one of the first that comes to mind. When I think of him, I don’t usually think of humility.
He was confident, and I wonder if there were times in his life when he might have been arrogant, too. Think of how he describes himself in Philippians 3:4-6:
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regards to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.”
I can’t help but think that before he met Christ, Paul took great pride in his history and himself.
Afterwards, though, he was able to write, “But whatever were gains to me I know consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7)
Humility is Not the Same as Humiliation
You see, when we meet Christ, we also meet ourselves. In knowing Him, we know, first the first time, who we really are.
Sinners in need of the Savior.
That’s why a man who considered himself “faultless” based on the law wrote, “Here is a trustworthy statement that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
You’d think he had a confidence problem after he met Christ, but the truth is that he finally put his confidence in the right place.
I think he learned humility when he put his confidence in Christ.
Now, don’t balk at the word “humility,” and don’t jump to associate it with the word “humiliate.” True humility is not about putting ourselves down so much as it is about lifting others up.
That’s what Paul means when he writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Humility is Not Seeking – It’s Serving
True humility is not self-seeking. If we are humble, we don’t do things with ulterior motives, wondering “What’s in it for me?”
That’s not our natural way because let’s face it: even our “service” is self-seeking sometimes, isn’t it?
Though we don’t want to admit it, we sometimes serve others to serve ourselves. We agree to work on certain projects because we wonder what others will think if we say “no.” When we’ve worked hard or helped in some way, we notice if no one else notices.
Jesus didn’t work that way.
That’s why Paul instructs the church, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-7)
You see, Jesus knew what he was worth. The way the world treated him didn’t change that. His confidence was in his identity, not whether other people recognized it. He faithfully obeyed God no matter what other people did or said.
He was serving God by serving people.
We do the same when we put their needs above our own. After all, Christ said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
When it comes to serving others, we don’t need their approval; our confidence is in Christ.
But we don’t have to deny their thanks either.
Humility Points to Him
I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at taking compliments. I just don’t know what to do with them sometimes and often just shrug them off or downplay them.
It drives my husband crazy.
Because acknowledging we did something well does not always equal pride.
After all, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purposes.” (Philippians 2:13)
Confidence in Christ means we can acknowledge our good works because we recognize that they begin and end in Him. He gives us the desire and the ability to do his will. Denying what we’ve done is denying the work He has done.
Just give him the glory for the things He has done.
That’s what Christ meant when he said, “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Don’t hide your light under the bushel of “humility.”
Let your light point to him.
After all, that’s exactly what Paul said would happen when he wrote, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16)
Today, embrace who God has created you to be and give Him the glory for the good things he’s done in your life. Shine. Shine brightly.
To help me remember to let the light shine, I created this hand-lettered journal page, and I’d love to share it with you! Just subscribe to MississippiMom.com, and I’ll send a printable form of it your way!