Humility is not often in the news. The trait is barely recognized in society, not at all by the media. Ours is a power society.
To find humility, one must go to the pages of the Bible. There, it finds plenty of space. And it is there that we will find an answer to the question: How does humility act?
Humility is a mindset that produces distinct actions which distinguish it from the world. Here are four of them.
1. For others
The great paradox of Scripture is that humility is a divine trait. Jesus is the ultimate example of it. Paul used much of his space writing about humility to the Philippians to observe what Jesus did in descending from heaven in order to die for humanity, Philippians 2.1-11.
Humility sacrifices for others. Humility knows that a person does not exist for self. It is not self-centered. How much it is needed today!
2. If God wills
Humility recognizes the sovereignty of God. The humble person accepts his place as a limited being, unable to predict or guarantee the future, helpless to control the present. So every plan is prefaced with the prayer, “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that” James 4.13-17.
Powerful people think they have a handle on life. King Nebuchadnezzar was taught a powerful lesson about hubris, Daniel 4. The last word from the humbled king: “He is able to bring down those who live in pride” v. 37. Not only is he able, but he will certainly do it.
3. Effective obedience
Quarterback Roger Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl victory in 1971. Coach Landry did not allow him to call the game, but sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run, and only in emergency situations could he change the play. Roger considered Coach Landry to have a “genius mind” for football strategy, but his pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Staubach later said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.” (Ministry127)
Man must face up to the issue of obedience to God if he wants to have harmony, fulfillment, and victory. Naaman listened to his servants and humbled himself. When he obeyed the prophet’s command, he came up clean, 2 Kings 5.
4. Up is down
This principle appears all over Scripture, so one citation, by the Lord Jesus, must suffice: “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” Matthew 23.12. This comes from his chapter condemning the scribes and the Pharisees and their love for honors. Right before this quote, Jesus condemns all titles.
This has direct application today. Preachers and Ministers (note the capital “m”) are now Doctors and Theologians and Senior This and Lead That. The “Church of Christ” (you have this on the front of your building?) needs to be restored!
Let humility rule
Andrew Murray wrote a book on humility. (You can find it online.) He said,
Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, — until such a humility be what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.
If we would allow Jesus to be Lord, humility must rule our lives. May it be so.