Humility: Recognizing Who We Really Are
From Gospel Translations
Romans 12:3 says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” This is what humility is—it’s recognizing who we really are. What Scripture has to say about who we really are is not a great compliment. We’re sinners. Even before we were sinners, we were still small, finite beings, and we always will be.
But it’s okay to be small. What’s not okay is to be a sinner. But that’s the state that we’re in through our own choice. That’s our very nature. Yes, Scripture says we all sinned in Adam, but we are all sinners in our own lives.
Humility is recognizing our own unworthiness and the fact that I literally deserve to go to Hell for all eternity. If I come to grips with that, then I don’t have high expectations that everybody should celebrate how great I am, because I am not great.
Now, at the same time, we could go overboard with that and spend our whole lives thinking about what rotten people we are and not celebrate what Christ has done for us. In Christ, we are cleansed of our sin. Scripture says, “He has made him to be sin for us, he who knew no sin, that we may be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In this same context, Romans 12 goes on to talk about each of us having spiritual gifts given to us from God to serve for the good of the body. There is the humility of service that comes from using our gifts, so we’re not celebrating these great gifts that we have, but instead we’re using them to honor Christ and to serve as He did. He’s the One who came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.
Christ is our model of humility. Philippians 2 talks about how He lowered Himself. This is our privilege: to be humble servants of God. If you’re a servant of God, and somebody treats you like a servant once in a while, you don’t claim your rights and get indignant about the fact that you were treated like a servant. Hey, you’re called to be a servant! And it’s a high calling. Jesus was called to be a servant and has given us an example that we should follow in His footsteps.
When a great athlete does something admirable, but they’re the ones to rave on and on about their greatness, it doesn’t appeal to us or to God. That’s not humility; that’s pride. Pride pushes us away from God; humility draws us toward God. Humility puts us on God’s side, so to speak, where we agree with God about our true condition and our true need for Christ. Even as Christians, we need Christ today just as much as we did the day we came to faith in Christ. That’s something we should never forget.