Humility is a difficult concept to explain, one that we say we want and yet one that we sometimes misunderstand and misapply as we reach for it.
By Pastor Ed Kvaale
Humility is not false modesty or self-degradation. Yes, we need to be aware of our weaknesses and seek Jesus for growth and strength that we do not possess. However having a low opinion of oneself is not humility, nor is thinking our giftings are less valuable than others. C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters says it best that God wants to bring us “to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more or less or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another.”
Jesus defines humility for us by His actions. Paul describes Jesus’s servant attitude defined by His humility in Philippians 2:1-11. Humility is “counting others more significant than yourselves” [v. 3] and “let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” [v. 4]. Paul spends the next few verses describing Jesus becoming a servant, living a poor, humble existence and suffering humiliation because He put our needs before His own. Jesus shows us exactly how to consider others better than ourselves and how to look out for the interests of others and not just our own. Jesus shows us how to have a truly self-sacrificing love.
Not only does Jesus show us the way, but He will empower us to live this way. Jesus can and will transform us. We however, need to recognize our need for empowerment that comes from outside of ourselves. We will never be good enough, but we do not have to degrade ourselves to achieve the transformation Jesus desires. Let us come to Jesus to be transformed into the image of the men and women we have been created to be. We are called to humility, but we have also been called to great works through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit as we submit to a humble Savior who came that first Christmas because He wanted to rescue and redeem His people. Jesus put our needs first, not His own. Let us submit to Jesus and likewise be empowered to serve others and not just ourselves.
Ed Kvaale serves as pastor of Bowman Assembly of God.