The definition for humility left me wanting, empty, and lacking. I felt the definition didn't tell me enough about the state of being humble. I checked a thesaurus and found the following words: meekness, timidity, self-abasement, self-abnegation, submissiveness, servility, obedience, docility, modesty. Of course, I had to look up some of those words. Self-abasement means "humbling oneself." Self-abnegation means "lack of consideration for oneself or one's own interest; self-denial." (Webster New World Dictionary p. 1300.) Servility means to become like a servant or a slave. Even though the dictionary helps me to understand better the meaning of the word humility, the Bible provides an example that teaches far more.
Jesus left heaven and all its glory for me. He left his home not to make a name for himself. He gave up the comfort, tranquility, and love not to receive honor or praise. He gave up all things that made his life good so that mine would not be fatal. Jesus thought of me rather than himself.
Not only did Jesus leave heaven, he came to earth as a lesser, weaker being, a human. Not only did he become human, he became the lowest of humans. Isaiah 53:2b-3 says "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
I really like what Isaiah prophesies next in verse 4 and 5. "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed four our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
Jesus, MY LORD, SAVIOR, AND KING, lowered himself into a person of no power, no wealth, of no beauty or position. He had no earthly comfort or acceptance. He abased himself. He abnegated himself. He humbled himself. He didn't consider his own interest. Rather, he considered my needs, my interests. He considered that I would die without him. He considered that I would be lost, sick, and broken unless he came. He knew he would not only live a life of humility, but humble himself unto death. He did this because I need it. My salvation depends upon it!
Paul depicts humility with the example of Jesus's life and death. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)
Wow. I haven't known any greater humility. I haven't known any greater love! Jesus told his disciples "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. Love shows itself in humility. 1 Corinthians 13 speaks about love and says that love is not proud or self-seeking (verses 4 and 5).
In Philippians, Paul tells his readers to have the same attitude as Christ, to be humble. We are to not consider our own selves better than others but to consider the interest of others above our own (2:3-5). We are to be submissive to one another, obedient to the commands of God...you have heard the command, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself."
If you, like me, want to understand humility better. If you like me, need to learn how to become humble. If you like me, should self-abnegate, self-abase, become like a servant, obedient, then you as well as me, need to take a closer look at Jesus. We need to be reading about Jesus. We need to be spending time looking at His example of love and humility. We need to spend time with our LORD, SAVIOR, AND KING.
Allow me to leave you with a few scriptures:
Proverbs 22:4 "Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, and honor and life."
Proverbs 15:33 "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."
Psalm 149:4 "For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation."
I don't know about you....Salvation sounds good to me!