Summary: This sermon series is about getting Christians to see that there needs to be a clear and distinct difference between how we live and how the world lives and the gifts and talents that God gives us to do so.
Things that Make Christians different: Humility
As I continue with the series on what makes Christians different from the world, I want to talk to you all about humility. What exactly does the word humility mean? The dictionary defines humility like this: the quality or state of being humble. This is a very simplistic definition because the word humility or humbleness has very deep meanings scripturally.
As Christians, we have to know and realize that while we are supposed to work very hard at all that we do, and in so doing we honor God, we also have to acknowledge and understand that all the gifts and talents that we have been blessed by God with are not from us but are given to us directly from God. And when we understand this fact that is the first step in truly knowing and understanding what true and real humility is all about.
It’s humbling to recognize that God is more responsible for the achievements of our lives than we are and that we are all people who have been given our abilities, time and opportunities by God. These things are not our possession; they are gifts from God and we will ultimately give an account for what we do with what we have been given.
Everything in us strains against this notion, because to accept this as fact is to be humbled. And humility naturally leads to submission. That’s really the issue, isn’t it? We don’t want to admit that God is the giver of every good gift, because that would mean that we have to yield to his agenda. Humility, submission and obedience go together.
This doesn’t come easily, and it is certainly not natural; we need help to learn how to live this way. This is one reason why we have the Bible. In the pages of Scripture we find many examples of humility. From them we can gain insight and assistance as we strive to be the kind of leaders God desires and our world so desperately needs.
Humbleness and humility are fragile virtues because as soon as you are humble and you know it then you are prone to want to shout out loud “LOOK AT ME, I’M HUMBLE!” Saying you’re humble or thinking of yourself as a modest man is actually a perverted form of pride. The key to humility is to get your eyes off yourself and onto the One from whom all that we have is given and that person is God. We need help staying focused not on ourselves and what we can do but rather on God and all that He has done for us and is continuing to do through us.
Where does our help come from? Our help ALWAYS comes from the Lord! In Philippians chapter 2 verses 1-4 Paul wrote this for us today:
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Here we see that Paul understood who Jesus was in His heart; Jesus was a servant, a humble servant. Jesus did nothing with the expectation that someone would do something for Him to “repay” Him for His service to them. Jesus ALWAYS regarded others as more important than Himself. He always looked out for the interests of others no matter what it may have cost Him.
Jesus gave us many examples of His humility and humbleness but there is one that I want to highlight for us today and this example is found in the Gospel of John chapter 13 verses 1-8:
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." 8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."