Most of us think of humility as just another virtue -- much like patience, goodness, or kindness. It's nice and we appreciate it when we see it, but we rarely discuss it and almost never pursue it. Yet, the Bible seems to indicate that humility may be the bedrock of discipleship.
Jesus humbled himself by becoming a man and submitting even to death. (Philippians 2:5-8) He called His disciples to "deny yourself ... take up your cross ... be last of all ... be slave of all." (Mk 8-10) James reminds us that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
It's an old biblical theme that generates little attention, especially in a culture devoted to achievement, recognition, status, and significance. But if pride is the root of our fallenness (1 John 2:16) then humility paves the way to our restoration.
Marriages fail not when love grows cold but when pride trumps humility. Churches experience conflict not when unity is forgotten but when humility is lost. We grow least content, not when circumstances are tough but when entitlement buries humility.
Of course, our definition of humility makes all the difference. It's not about self-loathing or dejected defeat. Rather, true humility comes when, before God we see ourselves as nothing, have put aside self, and let God be all. Let God be all. Sounds simple enough, but the striving and fruitless-ness of our lives suggest that we find it easier to let God be some.
The challenge of our day is not to rise to the top but to live faithfully among the least, because of who God is. It will change everything; our homes, our families, our churches, our workplaces and the movement of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation.
Rev. Mark Wilson
Director of Ministries (General Secretary): Baptist Churches Western Australia
Vice President: Asia Pacific Baptist Federation