We Need Humility – October 29, 2021

Have you ever come across someone who is the hero of every story they tell? A problem existed, and they came to the rescue. It is not long before people begin to roll their eyes behind the back of that individual. The individual’s heart motive is to build themselves up and gain credibility. However, the conversation results in the opposite. Sadly, this is often us. Christians need to develop the character trait of humility because pride infects every corner of the world. Sin exists as a result of pride. As a result, humility stands out and declares the gospel.

Paul declared the importance of humility in his letter to the Philippians. In chapter 2, he spent significant time encouraging us to pursue humility. He does this first by imploring us to value others. We struggle with pride because we love ourselves more than others. This is why Paul commanded us, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. We struggle with selfish ambition. Often, because we believe we have superior spirituality, we couch this ambition in spiritual clothing. We believe that our way is the only way that God will work. So, we demand that everyone conform to our opinions in the church. Often, in the church, our jobs, and the world, we believe we are owed respect and position without earning it. We make the world about our advancement, our fun, our desires. Selfish ambition characterizes us.

The root of this selfish ambition is our conceit. We think of ourselves as higher than we ought. We are convinced that we have better ability, knowledge, or spirituality than others. Even if this is true, we forget that these are gifts from God (James 1:17). As a result, we begin to despise and become condescending to other people. We begin to think, “Those poor people. If they only had as much ability/knowledge/spirituality as I have, they would understand.” Failing to recognize that we are not as great as we think we are.

The roots of selfish ambition and conceit grow into plants of self-interest. We begin to work only for our interests. If the situation involves something I like or benefits me, then I will participate. However, if I am made to do something I don’t like or does not benefit me, I am not interested. We make life all about ourselves. Pride hides behind personal desires. It seems foolish for an individual to participate in a situation in which they have no interest.

The solution to the self-focus is service. Instead of selfish ambition and conceit, we are to consider others more significant. Rather than looking at them with pity or disdain, place them at a higher value and serve them. Consider them to be more important than you. Value their opinions, talents, and knowledge. Think of yourself less and of them more.

Instead of self-interest, become interested in those around you. Begin to work to ensure that their interests and desires are understood and met. Seek to serve those around you and recognize that life is not about you. Be willing to be uncomfortable because the situation is not one you are interested in. in short, stop making yourself the center of everything.

We all need to grow in humility. Andrew Murray states, “Humility is the only soil in which virtue takes root; a lack of humility is the explanation of every defect and failure. … There is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous as pride.”[1] Let us then seek to root out our pride, humble ourselves, and serve others. Examine your conversations. Are you the hero of all your stories? How often do you talk about yourself? How often do you criticize others? The problem is pride. Examine your attitudes. Are you easily angered? Are you frustrated with situations? The problem is pride. Examine your actions. Do you refuse to do things for others simply because it is not something you like? Do you allow others to take credit for things you did? We must defeat pride.

[1] Murray, Andrew. Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001). p. 17, 18.