Humility isn’t seeing yourself as less; it’s seeing God as more.
Today’s Text: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, ESV)
Paul’s exhortation to Christlike humility in the opening verses of Philippians chapter two surfaces the often perplexing question: what is true Christian humility?
Ironically, while Paul implores us to model ourselves after Christ’s self-emptying humility, he elsewhere prays that we would know the hope of our calling, the inherited riches that are ours in the saints, and the incomparably great power of God at work in us. Paul was humble. Paul was confident. Evidently, the two go hand in hand.
When Christ took on the form of a servant, His humility did not displace His power. When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He did not cease to be the Lord. Likewise, you can take on the form of a servant not because you deserve to be demeaned or because you lack value; rather, you can serve others because you are a celebrated child of God.
Your confidence in Christ does not compete with humility; it enables it.
Tim Keller has put it well: “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less” (Tim Keller, The Reason for God).
Christ’s humility was only possible because of the deep assurance of the Father’s love. Christ lived with the bliss of self-forgetfulness not because He deemed Himself unworthy of praise nor because He received praise; Christ was humble because the affections of God flowed in Him so deeply and so continually.
If you want to be humble, think much of Christ and His great love for you. The more secure you are in Him, the more you can forget yourself. That’s the source of true humility. And that’s the Gospel!