As we close the seven days of devotions on humility and move on to the next topic, we would be amiss if we did not examine one of the most significant acts of humility in the Bible. John 13:1-17, captures the text of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet in the upper room, the last supper. For Jesus, this was a display of humility and a true act of his servanthood. But why was this significant?
Let me paint a picture for you of the setting. Walking in sandals on the dirty roads of Israel in the first century made is critically important that feet be washed before a communal meal. The people back then at a reclined level and at a low table and feet were very much seen and in the general area as the food. It was typically reserved for the lowliest servant to wash the feet of their masters. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples, they must have been stunned at this act of humility. This was Jesus the Christ, their master and Lord washing dirty nasty, smelly feet! They should have been the ones washing his feet as this was their work, not His. We must remember however that when Jesus came to this earth the first time he came not as a conquering king, but as the suffering servant. He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 10:28). This act of washing the feet of the disciples was an act of foreshadowing of his ultimate act of humility, sacrifice, and love on the cross.
Jesus attitude of servanthood was in direct opposition to the disciples that had been recently arguing with each other over who among them was the greatest of all (Luke 22:24). We can assume from the text that there was no servant among them to wash their feet; it would have never occurred to them to wash each other’s feet. When Jesus was done washing their feet, He told them, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.”
As followers of Jesus, we are leaders of other people, every Christian is a minister whether you like it or not. As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build each other up in love and humility. We must have a servant’s heart putting other people ahead of ourselves.
If Jesus was our example and He was the ultimate servant, how much more should we focus on serving others and less on ourselves and our human wants and desires?
We become like the disciples sometimes, arguing among ourselves about how great we are and putting ourselves higher up than what we should be thinking we are more important than we are. We as a body of believers need to learn the art of humility and humble ourselves before the Lord and let Him lift us up, not us lifting ourselves up.
What acts of a humble servant can you do today? How can you serve someone else today? What can you do to demonstrate humility this day and this week?
As we continue this time of devotions, remember leading by example requires humility. Always be humble and kind to each other, and lift one another up, just as Jesus lifts us up and let nothing unwholesome come out of your mouths, except that which is good for building others up (Ephesians 4:29)
Our world is somewhat hostile to the word “Humility.” It sees a humble person as a week person and a person who is walked over like a doormat. In the world’s opinion, we should think highly of ourselves and think less of others. The reality is that meekness is not weakness; it is self-control which is one of the fruits of the spirit.
Galatians 5:22, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We are called to be humble, but we are also called to submit to authority. I want to discuss the concept of authority and submission today from the standpoint of self-control, not weakness. Again, humility is an example of self-control, but it is not a weakness. Based on the world’s definition of humility and meekness they would have us believe that humble people are weak, but we as believers need to understand that this is not the case.
The problem we run into is that we are so selfish that increasing our love of self will leave little room for God, not to mention our neighbors. True humility places all the power of “self” in service to God and to a neighbor. When we are directed by Gods love, people who are humble in spirit invest themselves in what the world thinks is a weakness, but what we as believers would call self-control.
So, what is self-control and how do we apply it. Well, first we must understand what self-control is. It is defined as, “the ability to control oneself, in particular, one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations.” Self-control requires that I am disciplined enough to control myself, my wants, and my attitude/behavior at all times. This often requires me to put the needs of other first and lift them up, even though this can be a difficult thing to do sometimes. Self-control only comes when the Holy Spirit brings about a change in my character through His work in us. We do not become a Christian on our own, and we do not grow on our own, we need the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
One of the proofs of the Holy Spirits works in our lives is the ability to control our thoughts, words, and actions. This is the essence of self-control. To demonstrate self-control, I need to be humble enough to admit that I need the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. We need to understand that we cannot do this on our own power. We need to have self- control because the outside world and the internal forces still attack.
Self-control is the key to perseverance, and it naturally leads to it as we learn to value the long term good instead of the instant gratification of the world.
Ask yourself today, where can you use a little more self-control and humility? What areas do you struggle with? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in these weak areas and give God al the Glory!
The longer I am a Christian, the more I realize that Gods commands, like being humble are not hard to find; they are hard to obey. Obedience is not difficult because Gods law is bad, but we are. Even though we as Christians stand righteous in Christ, we still in this life wrestle with sin. These commands are sometimes hard to obey, but if we look toward the Bible and the word of God, we can find strength and guidance on how to be obedient.
The text for today comes from Philippians 2:3-4, and says, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Selfish ambition can ruin a church, but genuine humility can build it. Being humble means, we have a true perspective about ourselves. It does not mean that we are putting ourselves down. It just means we should put other people first and as the scripture says, value them above ourselves. Now, this is a difficult thing to do, think of myself less and others as more. We are however commanded to do this in this life with each other. The command was given by Jesus to love each other; putting others first is the essence of love. We must be patient and kind to other people. We should be slow to anger and quick to listen. Servant leadership is the key to humility, by putting others needs, desires, and self-interests ahead of my own I’m fulfilling the command to be humble.
Humility comes naturally to some people, but it is usually something that needs to be learned and is deliberate and intentional. We become humble by being around humble people and by acknowledging that we are not number one all the time. How can we do this and understand we are not all that and a bag of chips, lol…I want to submit to you that one way for us to remain humble is to pray for other people. Humble people are praying people. Humble people are happy to admit their own limits and their own strength and to cast their burdens upon God, but they also pray for other people. Truly humble people don’t just pray for themselves, but they pray for others as well. When we pray for others, it reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. When we are intentional about praying for others, we are reminded of what those we pray for are going through and their individual needs and desires. By praying for them, we place their needs and desires above our own. If you looked at your prayer life over the last few weeks, would it seem like you only pray for you? If God answered all your prayers, would anyone’s life but yours be different?
So how do we start praying for others? I mean who should we pray for first? Well asking the Lord for guidance and discernment is a great place to start, but you can also start with your fellow church members. Pray for the overlooked widow in church, the tired pastor, the anxious college student, the blue-collar worker, the wealthy business person, and those who are closest to you. Each one of these people can use your prayers! Pray for the lost family members who are missing out on a relationship with Jesus Christ and are not experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding. Pray for the person on the mountain high, that they would stay there and be a blessing to others through their witness. Pray for those in the valley low, the ones who are struggling with depression, anxiety, financial issues, addictions, sin, guilt, shame, fear, and inadequacy. Pray for our nation’s leaders, that they would make Godly decisions that are pleasing to our Lord.
The reality is there are so many people who need our prayers, and the Bible says, “the prayers of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James, 5:16).
These are just a few ideas of how to get started today praying for others. It might feel awkward at first to humble yourself and put others first, but in time it will become natural. Wherever you start the key is just to start and enjoy praying for others.
Does your prayer life include praying for others or just for yourself? Where do you need to humble yourself today and put others first? Where do you need to begin and how? Today is the day the Lord has made so rejoice, be glad, humble yourself and ray for others.
This has been a long stressful week, but The Lord has taught me a lesson, life is precious and should not be taken for granted. As I was visiting my brother in the hospital seeing him on life support and life-saving measures was a humbling experience for me to say the least. My brother who I had grown up with and all I ever wanted to do was be like him, hang out with him and his friends and just be accepted by him. What can I say, when I was little he was my hero, and I looked up to him. Seeing him this week on a ventilator was a hard but humbling experience and made me realize a few things about humility.
Life is precious, as the bible says in James, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” I think what James is trying to say here is that life is short and we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know the plans that God has for us, and everything can change in an instant. We should live life to the fullest and stop focusing on the negative that is in our lives and focus on the blessings. We are a blessed people! Even in the valley where you might be today, some blessings are being poured over you. Are you stuck in the negative and missing out on the blessings that are right in front of you? I know I often overlook them. There is so much good right in front of us that we miss out on and overlook. I had a youth who I was counseling one time, and he felt like the world was falling apart, and all was going bad, and there was nothing good in his life. I had him perform an exercise, I had him make two columns on a blank sheet of paper. One was for the bad things in his life, and one was for the good. I gave him 10 minutes to fill out as much bad as he could and then gave him another 10 minutes to fill out the good in his life. When the 10 minutes for the good was over, he was still filling out good things in his life, and his good list far exceeded the number of the bad list. I anticipated this outcome, but he was shocked. I told him when things are bad to take this list out and look at all the blessings that are right there in front of us up for grabs, but we miss them stuck in the negative. Maybe it is a pride thing, which is the opposite of humility, or perhaps a cultural thing. Either way, we must learn to humble ourselves and focus on and hold on to the blessings.
So today are you still prideful and holding on to the negative or do you need some work in this area? Are you able and willing to say, “I receive the blessings and the good” and let go of the bad in your life?
My prayer is that even in the storms, and the storms will come, that you can remain humble and focus on Gods promises and His provision, even in the storm. The storms will pass, but will you let them go and look toward the positive, or will you hold on to the past and the negative?
The word discipline has become a negative word in today's society. When people hear this word, they immediately think something bad, getting into trouble or being punished. We have let the word discipline and punishment become synonyms. I want to submit to you that we need to reframe our perspective on discipline and reprogram our brains to think of discipline as a good thing, especially for us as Christians. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV), if my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Society has become a wicked and perverse generation, just as the Bible has predicted. So how do we change this?
The answer is discipline. Discipline is defined as, “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.” Discipline is training and education, for which there is no substitute. We need discipline in our lives, both internally and externally. If I can’t discipline myself to wake up on time, I’ll be late for work and get fired. I need internal or intrinsic discipline to get the duties and responsibilities that are required and asked of me to get done accomplished. As a Christian I need the discipline to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, silence, Bible study, reading books, and journaling, to name a few. All of these disciplines require discipline on my part to perform them. Externally, I need discipline in my life from my boos, peers, and co-workers to keep me on the right path, the straight and narrow. External discipline is when we need to be redirected, adjusted or trained to fix a problem or situation. The scripture I referenced for today’s devotional says, we need to turn from our wicked ways. In order to switch from my evil ways, I first need to humble myself and realize that there is a problem with what I’m doing, but then I need to discipline myself to correct the issue. This might require both internal and external forms of discipline.
First, I need to humble myself, as John the Baptist said speaking about Jesus, “I must decrease, and He must increase.” The key to servanthood is humility, I must think of myself less, this requires discipline and training. When you are training a dog to sit, the dog does not get it on the first try. Statistics show that it requires 60 repetitions for a dog to learn a new command or trick. During this process, the dog is being taught, corrected or disciplined externally by the owner and is disciplining itself by listening, internally. What I want you to see from this analogy, is that this is a process. Humility and discipline are processes as well that go hand and hand together. I must discipline myself to stay humble. I must check myself before I wreck myself when I get too cocky or arrogant. This discipline may come internally, me disciplining myself or externally, someone else bringing it to my attention thus disciplining me.
The goals for us is to become disciples of Christ through humility and discipline. We are striving towards Holiness and Christ-like perfection. To move forward as disciples, I need to develop the discipline to humble myself. We need to develop the discipline to practice the spiritual disciplines mentioned above, even when we don’t feel like it. Discipline is a good thing in our lives that we all need as we become disciples of the highest God!
What is your perspective on discipline? Do you need to reframe it based on today's teaching? Are their areas in your life where you are not very disciplined? If so, ask a trusted friend or fellow Christian to help you, this requires an exercise in humility. Where do you need to practice the spiritual disciplines better?
Jesus is our example to follow when it comes to discipleship. When I think of how Jesus was, I think about humility and being humble. Jesus left the right hand of God in heaven to come to this earth incarnate and to suffer in every way so that He could be our high priest. He came here in the form of a man and suffered in every way, he was humiliated, persecuted, tested, tempted, harassed, beaten, and crucified on the cross for us. His life is “the” Example of self-sacrifice and the perfect illustration of humility for us to follow as we try to grow as disciples. Before we dig too deep into humility today, I want to look at what discipleship means. According to dictionary.com, a disciple is, “any follower of Christ.” Based on that definition, we are all disciples as Christians because we follow Jesus and his teachings. A disciple is someone who disciplines themselves to follow Jesus.
With our understanding of a disciple and discipleship in place, how then does humility come into play regarding discipleship? The focus for this devotional is going to be on pride and how pride can destroy us. When we become prideful, we try to do things on our own power and without the strength of our Lord and Savior who gives us strength in all things. Pride is the opposite of humility. Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. This means when we get prideful, our failure and fall are soon to follow. Another Proverb says, when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The Bible is clear that pride and arrogance is a problem, and our natural tendency is to be prideful over being humble.
In fact, the world has corrupted the definition of humility and turned it into something that is related to weak, lowly, or even insignificant. These are not synonyms for humility; humility is not thinking less of your self, it is just thinking of your self less. It doesn’t mean we are weak or soft, but that we are servants of the highest God. God gives grace to those who are humble, but he opposes the proud (James 4:6).
Sometimes we get caught up with the world and get put into chest puffing contests where we need to try to proclaim our dominance and that we are better than others, and better than what we really are. We try to build ourselves up to make us feel good and live on a PETA-stool. The reality is we are all struggling, and everyone has issues that we don’t need to hide from one another but admit those issues through humility. When we confess who we are and what we are, we receive the grace and protection form the Lord, and he finds favor upon us.
Jesus is our example of humility, and he was the king of kings and prince of peace. He could have called down angels at any time to crush those who were against him and persecuting Him, but he remained humble. When he was called, “good,” He diverted that towards the Father who He stated was the only one that is truly good. He stated that he came to serve, not to be served even though he was a king (Matthew, 20:25). Jesus was the essence of someone who could have been full of pride and arrogance, but instead, he was full of love and humility.
If we are to develop as disciples and learn true discipleship, we must look towards Jesus as our example and try to live as He did, through humility. We need to remember we have nothing to prove to others, and that our worth and identity is found in Christ Jesus, not of the world and what others think. If we can remember these two points, Jesus as our example, and Jesus is where we get our worth, we can keep the pride monster at bay.
My challenge for today is for you to reflect on if you are prideful or humble? Are you puffing your self-up to others or are you living a life of humility and servanthood? The great news is that Gods mercies are made new every day and if you need to make adjustments, today is a new day, make the changes and grow in discipleship as we grow together!
As we progress towards a holy life and strive towards Holiness as Christians, we often hear we are to be servants, lift others above ourselves and remain humble. When we look at these attributes, it is important to understand the reason behind them and where they are coming from. One of my favorite epistles in the Bible is the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In his letter, Paul is writing to them to thank them for the gift they had sent them and to strengthen them by showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone. In true Apostle Paul fashion, he drops some great theological nuggets on the people of Philippi. One of those precious gems Paul teaches about in this text is humility, which is something we hear about, but how often do we practice it? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, humility is defined as, “freedom from pride or arrogance; the quality or state of being humble.” The same source defines “humble” as not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive. The famous theologian and author C.S Lewis defines humility as, “not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about your self-less.” We often get the concept of humility messed up and think that it means we are weak, meek, or don’t have strength, but that is just not the case.
So, then what does the scripture say about humility? Paul tells the church in Philippi to “do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, but in humility to value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” (Philippians, 2:3-4) Wow, this is a powerful statement of actions, decisions, and behaviors that we are called to do. The first thing I think we must discuss is, does this mean I can’t strive towards my own personal goals and aspirations? I would submit to you the answer is you absolutely can be the best you, you can be, set goals and go after them! With that said, however, Paul is trying to teach us that we should not do things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, so we must check our motives. Selfish ambition is all about doing things just for me, myself and I, when there is no benefit to others and my only motivation is my own self-interests. Vain conceit, on the other hand, is supplementary to selfish ambition and is when I value my own self worth more than I value others, its when we put ourselves above others. What Paul is trying to teach us here is to be humble in everything we do and to put others before ourselves, does this sound familiar? Jesus was and is our example to live by and to emulate, and he was a servant leader who put others before himself through his life, death, and resurrection.
Let’s make sure we keep this in perspective, is this humbleness and valuing the interests of other going to be easy, no it takes work and deliberate intentionality to think of the needs and interests of others before ourselves. As we put others first and serve them unconditionally, we are striving to be more Christ-like which is the foundation and basis of “Holiness” and Christ-like perfection. After all, the Lord, said, “be perfect as I am perfect,” we may not attain perfection in this life, but we are called to strive towards it pressing on towards the goal.
So today how can you serve others and put them first? What can you do to help someone else reach their full potential or their individual goals? The challenge then is to reflect on your own motives and ambitions and see where you can be humbler, putting the needs of others ahead of your individual needs, wants, and desires.
God bless you!