Have you ever heard the expression "humble is the way?"
We often use this and other common colloquialisms when giving advice to others. But do we often follow these principles ourselves? Do we "practice what we preach?" As Christians, we will be held more accountable than those that don't believe.
This is demonstrated in Luke 12:47-48:
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Jesus is our perfect example of humility. He knew who he was. He knew that He was fully God and fully man, Yet Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, fully aware that one would betray Him and all would abandon Him in His most desperate time of suffering. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" -Luke 12:48.
As Christians, we do our best to live our life in a way pleasing to the Lord by doing His Will and following Him. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Light. But sometimes, we struggle to walk in the ways that are pleasing to Him. We struggle to remain humble.
It is easy to be humble when there is no resistance, but what happens when a coworker wrongly accuses you? What do you do when a family member snaps at you for no apparent reason? Here's a practical example that most people have experienced: How do you react when someone cuts you off in traffic?
Our pride likes to make excuses for to justify not being humble. I call it the It's Not Fair Syndrome. But with Jesus as our example, all of our excuses are brought to nothing. Jesus was crucified as a criminal even though He was the only completely innocent person, the only one without sin. While He was suffering on the cross, the Roman soldiers were mocking him and gambling for his clothes. Jesus did not get mad and curse him, but instead, he prayed and asked his Father to forgive them.
Jesus empowers us to be humble like He is so that we can see others the way that God sees them, with love.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
So why does it sometimes seem so difficult to stay humble?
One reason it is difficult for many people to be humble is that they believe common misconceptions about what it means to be humble. There are many ways that our society misinterprets humility. Here are 3 ways that we as a society have misunderstood what it is to be humble:
Misconception #1: Humble = Doormat
In this train of thought, people resist being humble because they internally associate it with weakness. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the most powerful person to ever live and that power was exemplified through humility. When we realize that humility is power rather than weakness, we can begin to walk in it daily. It definitely takes more power and strength to not retaliate when you know you are right and the aggressor is wrong. This is why Jesus says:
But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Mathew 5:39)
Misconception #2: Humble = I don't matter
In fact, the complete opposite is true. If you are humble, it means that you know your value, and still choose to love, honor, or serve others first. Jesus knew that he was God in the flesh. He knew that He mattered, and still chose to walk in humility every day. It is His very character. You must always remember that you are made in God's own image. You were created to look and be like Him. You matter very much to Him.
Misconception #3: Humble = I'm not worthy
Jesus suffered on the cross and paid for the redemption of your soul with his blood. He would not have paid that price if He didn't think you were worth the cost. Always remember that no matter what you have done, to Jesus, you were worth saving.
A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
What is humility?
The word used for "humility" in the Bible is the Greek word tapeinós which is defined in Strongs as being God-reliant rather than self-reliant – which ironically always exalts a person, brings them true worth.
To be humble is to rely on God completely. Pride says "I can do it myself!" in the same way a stubborn child would. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19) Being humble is knowing that every good thing comes from God. It is knowing that even the brain in your head, which you use to create thoughts, was designed by God. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13) Humility is thanking God for the gifts he has given, the grace and mercy he has extended, and the Agape Love he has for you.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)