More on Humility

More on Humility

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius hired a servant to walk behind him as he made his way through the Roman town square. The servant’s only job was to whisper in his ear when people praised him, “You’re only a man. You’re only a man.”

Like Marcus Aurelius, many of the highly powerful and influential look for ways to stay grounded. Some turn to accountability while others seek asylum in meditation.  In the end, these all are aware of the imminent danger that comes with pride and thinking too highly of themselves.

Tim Ferriss, for example, can brag as having the most downloaded podcast on iTunes.  But he doesn’t brag at all.

Tim’s podcast is dedicated to interviewing the most successful people in the world from a vast array of genres.  He helps unpack the nuts and bolts of their routines and habits.  When asked about a common thread to the people that he interviews, Tim is quick to include the concept of humility in the short list.

In my last post, “The Key to humility,”  I spent much of that writing on John the Baptist.  John’s humility ultimately served a single purpose and it is that purpose that persuades me to say to the Christian that,

“The purpose of humility is to point people to Jesus Christ.”

John would say it this way, “Behold the Lamb of God to takes away the  sins of the word.”  It is John who, at the expense of his own ministry and his mortal life,  would later be quoted as saying, “He [Jesus] must increase and I must decrease.”

Just as Jesus used humility to demonstrate the love of The Father, John exercised humility to point people to Jesus.
(I will expound in this more in my next post)

Humility is not about looking down at yourself.
Nor should humility be equated with an improper self-image.

For the Christian, humility is the recognition of honor, submission, and the supremacy of Christ.

One specific, healthy example of humility comes from Paul’s writing in Philippians 3:4-8. After he lays out his exhaustive resume, Paul  then crescendos with these important words:

But whatever I used to count as my greatest accomplishments, I’ve written them off as a loss because of the Anointed One.  And more so, I now realize that all I gained and thought was important was nothing but yesterday’s garbage compared to knowing the Anointed Jesus my Lord. For Him I have thrown everything aside—it’s nothing but a pile of waste—so that I may gain Him. 

During his mission to the Gentiles, Paul used pretty much everything in his resume to his advantage but not his own gain.  Not for his own glory.

You see, there is certainly nothing wrong with a confidence, and a pride to do things well.  But COMPARED to Christ, our accomplishments are nothing.

Our confidence should never be placed in our resume and abilities unless they are pointing people to Christ.  I will tie this together more next time when I write about the capacity that humility gives us to receive gifts.



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  1. The Key to Humility | Douglas Rea - […] HERE’s part 2 […]
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