We all agree Jesus was humble.
But before we look at the “other” side of humility, let’s look at what the Bible says about Jesus and his humility.
We all know his birth was humble. I mean if you’re born in wooden manager in a smelly animal stall, that’s a humble beginning. His parentage was questionable. You don’t think everyone bought that story, do you?
I would even image that Jesus might have been teased about this. I mean, people haven’t changed all that much. I would imagine there were some young Israelite “bullies” in his neighborhood.
Even after Jesus began his ministry it was said of him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
By the way, are you aware that there are many scholars believe that Joseph was a stone mason, not a carpenter in the sense of working with wood. Jesus more than likely was a stone mason. They were also referred to as carpenters. Rather than explain why this is probably so, here’s a couple of links if you want to check it out.
We know Jesus never tried to stop his betrayal, never launched a defense.
One of my favorite portions of scripture says:
Philippians 2: New International Version (NIV)
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Just a note here. The word “if” more or less means “since” so if you use that word it makes a little more sense.)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Don’t you wonder how a person could use their relationship with God to their advantage? Or stated differently, how do we take advantage of our relationship with God?
I can think of a couple of examples.
How about a person in business who uses the fact that’s he’s a “Christian” as a way to drum up business. No, I’m not saying that advertising yourself as a Christian business person is wrong but if you are the least bit dishonest, if you’re standards are not excellent, if you don’t treat your customers with the highest respect, if you don’t stand behind your product, then you are abusing your relationship with God.
Or how about the parent that uses their daily time with God as an excuse not to ignore their children? That’s using our relationship with God as a way to avoid fulfilling our primary responsibilities. As a Bible teacher for years, there were a couple of times, I even encouraged young moms to quit the study and stay home with their children. I could tell how harried they were and figured it was because they were sensing it would be “less than Christian” if they weren’t there.
Or about the person who only prays for others but never gets involved in their lives, never offers to help in a practical way but certainly promises to pray. I feel this, too, is an example of using our relationship with God to justify our laziness.
But back to Jesus. There is a tendency today to present Jesus as a kind of “milk-toast” personality. He liked little children. He forgave. He cried when his friend died. When we characterize Jesus in such a limited way, we limit our understanding of his teachings, which were often very direct and caused discomfort to those who heard him.
Some of the principles Jesus taught in the parables are very stringent, very narrow in scope.
Jesus spoke harshly on occasion. He didn’t hesitate to tell the Pharisees what he thought of them with some very strong words. He didn’t hesitate to tell the disciples they were acting like children. He didn’t hesitate to remind the disciples about their lack of faith.
Did you know that Jesus, unlike other Rabbis, never referenced the teachings of another Rabbi? Most rabbis did. But not Jesus.
He claimed he, and he only, was right. He never wavered in that. His convictions were rock-solid.
Now, as a rule when we run into a person like that today, we would not call them humble, would we?
My point then is that humility has nothing to do with personality as I wrote the other day. There is a man in my Bible study who exemplifies this very well. I had heard that he was very opinionated and I wondered if I would like him or not. During our first Bible study, he was true to his reputation but there was nothing about him that he was arrogant. He was truly humble never suggesting for a moment that only he was right. (In fact the more I listened the more I questioned what I’d heard. I wondered if the problem wasn’t more the fact that some people don’t think enough to have an opinion in the first place. )
My husband is a very humble man, one of the kindest, humblest person I know. Yet he’s also strong-willed, opinionated and stubborn. He’s also the kindest most generous person I know.
Contrast this was someone who is quiet and soft-spoken. I mean they “ooze” humility. They say all the right things. However, if you were to watch how they treat service-industry people, how they turn away from someone who is different, how they give those “looks” (you know the ones I mean), you would soon realize they are anything but humble.
I know that I’m my most humble when I’m forgetting all about myself. I’m also my most humble when I have an honest appraisal of my gifts and abilities and don’t pretend to be “less than” or “more than” of who I am..
Romans 12:3 says we are not to have an elevated opinion of ourselves but that we should use sober judgement in our assessment of our gifts. I believe this verse means we should take an honest look at ourselves, evaluating both our strengths and weaknesses. It is not lacking in humility to know how we are gifted, because everyone has gifts. I would go so far as to say that if we don’t know whar are our talents, abilities, gifts are, God cannot use us effectively.
Was Moses being humble, when he told God he wasn’t gifted as an orator? Or was it just an excuse because he was scared? I’m just asking.
To sum it all up, if you want to learn humility, if you want to see it in action, read the gospels. But if you’re familiar with them, read them with “fresh”eyes. Put aside your previous ideas and really observe how Jesus acted. He is our perfect example.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.