Summary: Understanding the Buzz Words of Christianity
Series: Buzz Words
Title: What is Humility?
Focus: Christian Living
ATTENTION: C.S. Lewis once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
INTRODUCTION: “Humility” occurs 10 times in the NASB. Four in the OT often mean “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people” while the 6 in the NT mean either “lowliness of mind” or “meek”. Alternatives for the word “humble” such as “humbles” or “humbled” occur 89 times in 82 verses in the NASB (65 verses in OT and 17 verses in NT). These words often mean when a “proud and disobedient person is brought into subjection” or “submission to another's will”. Sometimes humility is forced while other times it happens willingly. When all info is studied, five traits of a humble person rise…
#1. Humility is Obedience to Jesus Christ First (Zeph. 2:3a and James 1:21)
• Explanation: Zeph. (OT Prophet) said a humble man “seeks the Lord… carrying out His ordinances… seeking righteousness and humility.” (2:3a).
o The humble strive for three things: (1) The Lord, (2) Righteousness, and (3) humility.
• Righteousness and humility come from seeking the Lord first, which gives the Christian “shelter” from God’s wrath.
• Likewise James says “put aside all filthiness and wickedness and in humility receive the word which is able to save our souls.” (James 1:21)
o One who has “in meekness” received the Word (Gospel) is saved by God’s Word, which eliminates wickedness (gives “shelter”).
• Illustration: "Humility is that a spirit of obedience… a humble spirit is a yieldable, subject, obedient spirit." Jonathan Edwards
• Application: The humble obey God’s Word as greater than anything else! To do otherwise would declare (1) we have more knowledge than God, (2) we have more direction than God, and (3) believe God’s ways are useless.
o The humble stay focused on the Word first!
• Explanation: Peter declares “Younger men… be subject to your elders (leaders)… all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (5:5)
o Peter’s charge (to young or old) was to place themselves willingly under those who had been given authority (leadership).
• Even those in authority serve: Jesus served the disciples (washed their feet). We cannot practice humility without practicing service (being submissive).
• Matthew says "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4)
o The disciples were more concerned about position than practice.
• Service must be directed toward people.
• Illustration: Years ago, the Salvation Army was holding an international convention and their founder, Gen. William Booth, could not attend because of physical weakness. He cabled his convention message to them. It was one word: "OTHERS."
• Application: A humble servant cares about others. Service is the practice of active submission.
o “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King Jr.
• Be submissive to authority to stay on the path of humility.
#3. Humility Takes No Pride in Oneself (Proverbs 18:12 and 11:2)
o The humble puts no trust in themselves (“lack arrogance and pride”). They listen to (1) the Lord and (2) the authority over his or her life.
o A person who thinks he or she is greater than another will experience a “downfall” (Proverbs 11:2; 16:18; 29:23a) but the humble will have strength and the determination to live.
• Illustration: Pride in the Bible frequently refers to negative characteristics such as arrogance, vanity and being “puffed-up”. The Greek and Roman cultures had a particular hatred to pride as the person who this trait was self-destructive and offended the gods.
o If the secular think pride in one’s self is destruction how much more do you think God hates it?!
• “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Augustine
• Application: God hates the proud because it brings…
• Stay humble in knowing God working in and through you!
#4: Humility Accepts God's Providence (James 1:9)
• Explanation: James says, “Let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position.” (James 1:9)