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Faith Alive! | Commandments of Christ 10

10. Humble pie

From issue 88 (October 2007)

HUMBLE Pie has to be one of the worst meals ever! Nobody really likes eating it because it means admitting we were wrong and someone else was right. It means getting rid of our pride and making ourselves look small in front of others. But when it comes to trying to copy Jesus’ character we could all do with swallowing a big, fat piece of humility.

Being humble isn’t easy. It goes against everything the world tells us. The world says, “Put yourself first!” and “Stand up for your rights!” But Jesus said: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11, ESV).

The Bible word for humility literally means to ‘put yourself down’ and it means in your mind as well as in practice. But that’s the problem with humility; it’s possible to look like a humble person on the outside and actually be the total opposite on the inside. We can even be proud of our humility! Jesus’ parable about the two men praying shows this difference.

The Pharisee’s pride meant God wasn’t listening to him (actually it says he was praying to himself anyway). In contrast, the tax collector’s humility was genuine. So God counted him as righteous. Humility can’t be faked in front of God.

But does humility just mean being a pushover and never standing up for anything? Is that what Jesus did? Well he certainly wasn’t shy when he threw the money lenders out of the temple.

But when it came to standing up for his own ‘rights’ he just didn’t do it. In fact, Paul tells us that Jesus “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death”. This kind of humility was a deliberate act. It needed real strength of will and character.

So humility is not about being a wet lettuce; but it is all about thinking of others before yourself. Paul says that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. He “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (see Philippians 2:3-8, ESV). At the last supper Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as a lowly example for us to follow. But would we ever choose to give ourselves such a job? Think about it! Someone where you live has to empty the bins and clean the toilet – is it ever you? Would you humble yourself to do it?

Remember that putting on humility starts in our minds. King David’s way of helping to get his life into its proper humble perspective was by looking at creation:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:3-5, NIV).

So whenever we feel full of our own importance or hungry for worldly success, the fact that the God of heaven and earth wants to give us eternal life should be enough humble pie for even the largest of appetites!

Suzi Spencer

 

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