By Tim Frank
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage
One of the basic building blocks of relationships is the ability to yield to others in humble submission to Jesus Christ. Whether it be in a marriage, a church, or a friendship, humility in considering the needs of others is paramount for a continuing, loving relationship. The starting place for love, encouragement, forgiveness and service is humbly yielding for the sake of others. Without the presence of humility, marriages struggle, relationships fall apart, and churches split.
The essential of humility is given in Philippians 1, verses 21 and 27 as Paul writes, “to live is Christ” and “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” It is in the transformation we receive through faith in Jesus that we can live a life of humility. As a person yields to Jesus as Savior and Lord, he is transformed into a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). No longer does he live his life to please himself but to please and obey the Lord.
The inner blessing of humility (Philippians 2:1) is seen in the encouragement of Christ, the consolation of love and the fellowship of the Spirit. These, along with affection and mercy, are the results of the transformed life of the believer. The inward qualities of the Christian life are enjoyed as an eternal benefit. In times of trial and in seasons of delight, the blessings continue as a sweet peace and rest to the soul (Matthew 11:28-30).
The outward characteristics of humility (Philippians 2:2) are a mind, love, and spirit that are unified with other believers. Those who trust in Jesus have an inward bond that is reflected in their outward relationships. Therefore, Christians from different churches, states or even countries share a common love for one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord. They are connected by a spiritual unity and focused on a common purpose: to exalt Jesus Christ.
The crucial action of humility (Philippians 2:3-4) is demonstrating a concern for others’ needs above our own. There is no selfish motivation in humility, only a deep-felt concern for the betterment of others. There is a spirit of ministry, service, and concern. As in the early church, material sacrifices are made to benefit and care for the needs of brothers and sisters in Christ (Acts 4:32-37).
The perfect example of humility (Philippians 2:5-11) is the Lord Jesus Christ as He laid aside His rights, reputation and glory to give His life for the sins of mankind. Jesus is our supreme example in all things. Just as He loved us and gave His life as a sacrifice, so we are to have a mind of humility and be willing to sacrifice for others (1 John 4:9-11).
The desired goal of humility (Philippians 2:13) is to allow God to work in us for His good pleasure. Christians are to be under the control of the Holy Spirit as they serve as the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus to a lost and hurting world. We take comfort in Romans 8:28 when difficult times come, knowing that God uses all things, even hardship, for His good purpose.
The ultimate testimony of humility (Philippians 2:14-15) is a positive, shining witness in a dark, sinful world. Instead of grumbling and arguing with one another, as churches and Christians often do, we are to live with a humble yieldedness. The testimonies of too many Christians have become tainted in the midst of ugly church fights and harsh confrontations. May we relate to each other in humility so that the world may see Jesus’ love lived out through us.
Humility is not just a good idea nor simply a lofty goal. It is to be the character trait of the follower of Jesus Christ. As we focus on the One who unites us, let us lay aside petty differences and live in the blessed peace of humility.