by Marshall Moody
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2
My former sister-in-law was quite a bit younger than me – maybe 6 – 8 years. She and my brother started dating in college. We welcomed her into our family. I remember after 10 or so years, she said something like, Marshall, you sure were arrogant when I first met you. She did not mean, our initial meeting, but rather, when I was younger. It was nice to hear that I had become less prideful; however, it made me reflect and realize that I was extremely arrogant and loud (I still struggle with both – especially the loud part). Not as an excuse, but the reality is when I first met her, I would have claimed to be a Christian, but the truth is I did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and certainly wasn’t living to please him. My relationship with Jesus would not begin for more than another decade. It is so nice to look back over years and even decades and see definite spiritual growth and more Christlikeness.
Yes, I was a young man with a lack of humility problem – not uncommon.
Real humility is so easy to recognize because it is so rare. It is completely counterculture from the world that Satan rules where those with power, prestige, and possessions (or perceived power, prestige, and possessions) rule and reign. It is what sets Christ apart (makes him holy) from all other gods. No other god laid his life down for his sinful servants and rose again defeating death so that his sinful servants could inherit the eternal Kingdom of God. The Bible claims in the familiar Isaiah 53 passage,
2 He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.Isaiah 53
Born in a stable, carpenter’s son, servant, healer, provider, teacher, triumphant Jerusalem-entry on a donkey, crushed on a cross for our sin – humble servant of God. Jesus personified humility and gave us the perfect example to follow. Rick Warren, Christian Pastor and author of “Purpose Driven Life” famously said that “True humility is not thinking less of yourself;” [after all, we are created in God’s image – The Imago Dei], it is thinking of yourself less.” For sinful man that is impossible without the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Without God, we are literally obsessed with ourselves and our minds and hearts are occupied with feeding our sinful desires.
So, if we are to think of ourselves less, who and what are we to think about? In the greatest commandment, Jesus instructs his disciples to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Humility seems to manifest itself in who we are and shows up (appears) in what we do for others. One of my dear friends, Aaron Parks, is a humble servant of God. He is a husband, father of four young boys He leads the youth ministry at our church which is so demanding. In addition to leading and serving the youth, he is intentional about serving their families. He also serves a large staff and makes sure that we are informed, trained and appreciated. During Covid last summer, he and his wife, Kelly, organized and led a neighborhood Bible study. When you talk to Aaron, he focuses on you and wants to know what is
going on in your life as he continuously looks for opportunities to serve. If you ask Aaron, he will tell you that each day he wants to “love Jesus more.” He does this by loving and serving others day after day after day. Like Jesus, to be an effective disciple-maker, you have to intentionally and sacrificially love and serve those whom the LORD has given you. So, what to do? Here are a few actionable items to consider.
- Memorize Philippians 2:3-4
- Set up a meeting with someone you are discipling or have discipled in the past
- If you have been arrogant or prideful and treated someone wrong recently, call them, confess
your sin of pride and humbly ask for their forgiveness
- Serve someone today – there are countless volunteer opportunities
LORD, forgive us for our prideful sin that so easily entangles us and clouds others’ ability to see you clearly. Thank you for your perfect example of humility – Christ on the cross. May we intentionally seek to grow in our Christlikeness in the area of humility. Sanctify us, Heavenly Father, to become more like your son – our Savior!
Marshall Moody. Forgiven sinner and Jesus follower, husband and father, construction business manager, disciple maker, Arkansas Razorback lover and fly fisherman.