Humility: As Taught by Jesus

July 26th at 2:04am

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 ESV); and “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Matthew 20:26-28 NLT).

Scripture reveals that Jesus Christ, while on earth, lived a life of humility. He laid open His heart to his disciples in verbal teaching and to us now by scriptural reference.  His lessons on humility which he repeatedly taught, inferred that Christians are to be just as humble as He was. Let’s look at Christ’s teaching on humility to get a gist of the seriousness of this virtue so often overlooked by Christ’s followers. To understand Christ as Creator will help you perceive why he laboured so intensely to teach behavioural values to men and women. (Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-4). Since we are created by God, we are highly potentiated created, humans.

Here are several lessons:

Christ’s view of the poor and meek. In the Beatitudes with which the Sermon on the Mount opens, He speaks “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3, 5) To the poor, who have nothing in themselves — to them, the kingdom comes. To the meek, who seek nothing in and of themselves — the earth will be theirs. The blessings of heaven and earth are for the humble. Here in our earthly life, humility is the secret of spiritual grace.

Jesus asks Christians to take humility seriously. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 ESV) He tells us that the spirit of humility is an attribute which we can learn and receive from Him. Humility and humbleness of mind and manner of life are what He explains. We learn via His Spirit’s leading when born again. Our minds must be humble and calm — in these states of mindfulness, we will find perfect rest of soul. Humility is to be evidence of our deliverance from the world’s distractive ploys to trick us to put ourselves first. When freely led by His Spirit, we properly enjoy our salvation in discipleship — doing His will as He leads day by day.

Modesty begets Greatness. A few of the disciples were desiring to be the greatest in the kingdom and agreed to ask the Master, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Luke 9:46). The Lord set a child in their midst, and said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Further, “…the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:48) True heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility.

Self-righteous self-elevation is disdained by God. The apostles John and James expressed this when they asked Jesus to sit on His right and left hand when he goes back to heaven, the highest place in the kingdom. (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus referred such query to the Father’s authority. Their mission was a redemptive mission that would culminate in the Lord’s supreme humiliation  — death on the cross.  These men must be prepared to go on and build on Christ’s teaching of the importance of loving others. This is the essential message of the new covenant that Jesus taught in His Gospel

Loving others begets Serving others: “…whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45) Humility, as seen in the life of Christ, as the one who came down from heaven to serve, will be the primary standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest mindset is the nearest to God. Primacy in the church is promised only for the humblest. Conversely, a pompous attitude among a church leader stinks of power-tripping. The silent movie of the 20s reveals Joan of Arc being asked theologically devious questions by politically motivated priests determined to judge her as a heretic, which culminated in her being burned at the stake.

Who Is the Greatest? Even during the last supper, the disciples still disputed who should be the greatest. Jesus said, “let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves.” (Luke 22:26) The unpretentious life which He presented to us as our example, the power and gentle spirit in which He bore insult to bring our salvation, is the only demonstrative humility that can influence today’s’ Christians to be servants to others.

Speaking of the Pharisees and their love of the supremacy. Christ said once again: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12). Humility is the only path to honour in God’s kingdom.

God will humble the proud. On an occasion, in the house of a Pharisee, He taught the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher (Luke 14:1–11), and ended with: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The demand is apparent: there is no other way. Self-abasement alone will be exalted. At first, this may appear difficult because our pride will prefer domination to some degree.

Don’t be too proud of your biblical knowledge. After the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Christ spoke against self-exaltation again: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14). In the temple, in the presence and worship of God, everything — even knowledge of doctrine is worthless unless pervaded by a deep, true humility towards God and men. The Pharisees were educated in the scriptures above the average Jew in the days of Christ. Never should we feel more exalted due to our theological knowledge.

Be supportive and help others when the opportunity arises. Jesus said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14). The symbolic message of foot-washing is to defer to help others, not look to be exalted nor pampered by others. Christ’s absolute authority and example, every thought, either of obedience or conformity, make it quite evident: humility is the primary essential element of discipleship.

Men sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. You can see this attitude in movie episodes of “The Game of Thrones”. There is a Machiavellian spirit of tribal one-upmanship; a devilish desire to usurp and control others at all costs.

Is it your heart’s desire to understand humility? If we realize that self-will is a problem that we all must deal with. Our lizard brain 1 is a destructive mindset harmful to mankind. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to envision a better understanding of humility. Church fellowship, our peace and joyful appreciation of our kindred unity in Christ, is possible when mindful of this significant primary teaching.

Humility reveals character growth in grace. Presenting the character trait of humility represents evident progress — of a maturing, abiding relationship with Jesus — sanctification in our Christian growth. Based on this study of the teaching of Jesus, no place in the church will be too low, no service beneath our stature. Let us happily prove the like-minded fellowship with Him who spoke, ‘I am among you as a servant.’

Jesus, the meek and lowly One, calls us to learn of Him the path to God. Let us study humility until our heart agrees: My one need is humility. And let us believe that what Christ shows, He gives by His Spirit; what He is, He imparts. As the meek and lowly One, He will come in and dwell in the open-minded, humble heart. 2

1 The lizard brain term is a metaphor for the self-willed, lustful human mindset that prefers political manipulation, violence, domination, retribution, and sexual perversion.

2 Glen Jackman’s summary edit of Andrew Murray’s thinking. This is from Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (pp. 11–16). New York; London; Glasgow: Fleming H. Revell. (1800) In the public domain.


Article posted by Glen R. Jackman, founder of GraceProclaimed.org

Glen has optimized his eldership role to teach the full scope of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ without boundaries.
You can read his testimony.