Do you ever consider the humility of Jesus when you recall the Christmas story? From Jesus’ humble beginnings we can learn about the importance of humility and the place it has in our lives.
Humility likely doesn’t enter your mind first when thinking about Christmas. If you’re like me, your initial thoughts are of joy and peace and gratitude. Perhaps celebration too!
I love that Christmas puts our focus on Jesus and reminds us of the most precious gift we will ever receive—a personal Savior that came to earth as a little baby but left as our King.
That’s worth celebrating!
However, amidst all the parties and good tidings exists this miraculous baby that we spend time remembering, yet not enough time studying. I’d like to put my attention on Him and His character this holiday season through a three part series entitled Humbled at Christmas.
Humility and Baby Jesus
Can we concentrate on baby Jesus for a second? Take a minute and think only about Jesus when He first entered our sinful world. Don’t think about His surroundings or His parents or His visitors.
Imagine what He looked like. Consider His needs and limitations.
Did He have clothing?
Could He talk?
Could He feed himself?
Was He cold?
Was He strong?
Jesus came to the lost world with nothing and as a nobody even though He really had everything and He was the only somebody. He bore the weight of humanity and clothed himself in humility.
Now here’s something important to ponder:
Our limitless God limited Himself within humanity when He entered earth as a baby and departed it as a man. The impact of His selfless decision transcends much further than the gifts and excitement of #Christmas. His #humility is our #eternity.Click To Tweet
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus’ life began with humility and ended with humility and we would all do well to hold that thought captive in our minds. Because if one of Jesus’ purposes was to come down to earth and provide us an example of how we should live, we must take note of His humility.
What Is Humility?
I never much thought about humility during the holidays. I’ve always been too busy to do more than remember that Jesus came to the Earth as our Savior. Gratitude and recognition of that seemed good enough.
Finally I’m realizing that the manager story isn’t just about the gift God gave us; it’s also about what He gave up for us.
So what is humility?
Well, it starts with being humble.
I looked up humble in a web-based KJV dictionary I liked to use when trying to better understand the words of the Bible and I found this definition:
Humble: Lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud, haughty, arrogant or assuming. In an evangelical sense, having a low opinion of one’s self, and a deep sense of unworthiness in the sight of God¹.
Wait? Jesus humbled himself when he came to earth as a baby (and in many other places in the Bible) and that means he lowered himself, that he was submissive, and that he thought less of himself?
I can’t even wrap my mind around why God would do that to Himself.God is so completely worthy and yet He #humbled Himself to serve and save the most unworthy.Click To Tweet
The world’s first encounter with Jesus didn’t include His mercy, forgiveness, and grace, though that was foretold and luckily for us came to pass. No, He chose for the world to first experience His humility.
The Truth about Humility
The enormity of humility really can’t be discussed in three short blog posts, but I’ll do my best to at least get you started in looking at this vital christian character trait more closely.
Here are a few truths I found when I started studying humility in God’s word.
1. HUMILITY IS AN ACT OF OBEDIENCE AND REQUIRED FOR OBEDIENCE.
“…what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8, KJV).
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12, KJV).
When you chose to follow God, you knew that your life would change. But when you first made the decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, be it as a child or later in life, I bet you didn’t fully understand what he required.
The books of Micah and Colossians both tell us that God requires humility. Jesus desires for us to be more like Him and He epitomized humility starting with His humble birth and ending with His sacrificial death.
Funny—we can’t really obey the call to be humble unless we exhibit humility because submission and lowering our desires are necessary components of obedience.
2. HUMILITY ENTERS EVERYONE’S LIFE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11, KJV).
I love the matter-of-fact nature of this verse. It offers two paths for humility in our lives: You can humble yourself of your own free will or God will do it for you. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather choose humility than receive it unsolicited.
3. HUMILITY GROWS WHEN WE RECOGNIZE OUR WEAKNESS AND TRUST GOD TO OVERCOME IT WITH HIS STRENGTH.
We should not overlook our weaknesses. We are sinful creatures and not without faults.
The Bible showcases the frailty of many, including God’s chosen people as well as the men and women who He used in great ways. Take Moses, for example, who lead the Jewish people out of bondage in Egypt and towards the Promised Land. In Numbers 12:3, he’s described as extremely humble and we see his humility shine through his inadequacy.
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
You can read more about Moses in Exodus 3 and 4. You’ll see his road of humility was a bumpy one because while he trusted God, he had moments of doubt that God’s strength would overpower his weakness.
Part of humility is knowing that we are not enough but trusting that God is.
Does weakness defeat you or do you hold on tighter to God when you feel powerless?
When we discover our weakness as a result of walking in humility, we can do one of two things: We can either succumb to our powerlessness or trust God to work in our life regardless of our shortcomings.
4. HUMILITY DOESN’T DENY STRENGTHS, RATHER IT USES THEM TO SERVE.
God made us special. We each come equipped with not only weaknesses, but also strengths. We shouldn’t brag about our strengths, but we mustn’t pass them over either. Instead, we should recognize our strengths and use them.
“For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3, KJV).
In Romans 12, Paul doesn’t condemn thinking of ourselves but says “not to think of himself more highly than he ought…” He tells us “to think soberly” or in other words to think “without passion” or “moderately²” and to pay attention to what God has given to us, specifically as spiritual gifts. (Spiritual gifts are an entirely different post, but you can read more about them in Romans 12:6-8).
With humility comes the need to make ourselves less important than others and one of the ways to do that is by serving others. When we dedicate our strengths to the service of others, we bring glory to God rather than to ourselves and isn’t that the point of humility? We must accept our unworthiness while recognizing His worthiness.
Encouraging Scripture on Humility
Interested in reading more about humility before my next post? Try out these verses (all KJV):
- Psalms 22:26: The meek [another word for humble] shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live forever.
- Psalms 37:11: But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
- Matthew 5:5: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
- Psalms 9:12: …He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
- Psalms 10:17: LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
- Proverbs 16:19: Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
In what ways have you practice humility in your life and what impact did that have in your walk with Christ?
¹Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828. https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/humble.html
² Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828. https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/soberly.html