Thursday, February 25, 2010


I read an excellent quote about humility from a local United Methodist pastor: "Humility is our way to God, because it was God's way to us."  What exactly is humility?  Its simply the truth about ourselves.  Its the willingness and vulnerability to be honest about our imperfections and smallness.  Its the truth that even our noblest deeds are riddled with self-interest.

Paul writes in his letter to the church at Phillippi to “Have this mind which was in Christ Jesus, who was in the form of God, emptied himself, taking the form of a servant… and humbling himself became obedient unto death.  Therefore God has highly exalted him” (Philippians 2:5-9).

God's humility in Christ was the perfect humility.  There was no self-interest in Christ humiliating himself on the cross.  He even said before it happened "I don't want to do this, but I'm willing to." (my translation of his prayer in Matthew 26:39).

A person who lives this kind of "mind of Christ" doesn't just occasionally practice humility, its at core of who they are and how they live.  Humility is not a gift to receive, its a virtue to pursue.  How about you, are you pursuing the truth about who you are in relationship with God?

1 comment:

Bill C said...

Paul’s point in the Philippians passage is that Jesus subsumed his own best interests because he chose to participate in a cooperative plan with ‘others’, a plan that did not have his own best interests as a goal. Therefore, the behavior that Jesus enacted was ‘humbling’ behavior because it did not conform to a ‘me-first’ behavior.
The value-set [‘mindedness’] that produced Jesus’ behavior is what Paul was encouraging the Philippians to emulate. The community’s ‘in Christ’ goals trump any and every individual ambition that is in conflict with the ‘in Christ’ goal.
In order to implement and complete “the Plan”, Christ Jesus had to decide between retaining ‘equality with God’ or ‘humility’. So He surrendered himself to death on a cross which death never could have occurred if Christ had “insisting upon” that ‘equality’ which was rightfully his.