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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Hard to Be Humble When You're Great

We’ve all laughed about the fake book title, Humility and How I Achieved It. How about the saying, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re great”? Media mogul Ted Turner said, “If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.” Professional football (soccer) coach Jose Mourinho called himself “the special one.” I couldn’t count how many famous people have told interviewers how important it is for them to be humble. Hmmmmm . . . .

The American businessman and statesman of the 1700s Benjamin Franklin once said, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” 

The great English pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon observed, “Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self.” I think he had it just about right.

Of course, the best example of humility is Jesus. It’s more than we can comprehend that God would love us so much as to take on a body of flesh and choose to live in the midst of sinful mankind. Jesus wasn’t accepted by his own half brothers. He was mocked and ridiculed all of His life. During His ministry, the religious leaders who professed to be waiting for their Messiah refused to believe in Him. And then, Jesus was crucified in payment for the sins of everyone in the whole world, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). He laid down His life. This is true humility.

Read this clear teaching in Philippians 2. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (verses 5-8).

Lorne Sanney tells this story: A businessman I know once asked his Bible study group, “How can you tell if you have a servant attitude?” “By the way you react when you are treated like one,” was the reply.

Jesus was humble. He was God, yet He chose to serve. He was God, yet He took on Himself the awful penalty for sin.

Humility isn’t marked by bragging about how humble one is. It’s marked by actions. It’s being a servant. It’s never looking down at anyone and never thinking one is better than anyone. It’s the complete absence of the wrong kind of pride.

In Christ, I am:
  • complete,
  • alive,
  • free,
  • born again,
  • not afraid,
  • cleansed from sin,
  • adopted,
  • declared righteous,
  • able to do God’s will,
  • a new creature,
  • victorious,
  • a light in the world,
  • forgiven,
  • delivered,
  • redeemed,
  • loved.

These are all because of Jesus. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

It’s only because God loved us. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Salvation is a gift. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We can’t win God’s favor. It’s impossible. But, when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have all kinds of benefits.

A truthful, assessment of ourselves is that we are sinners. Now, (assuming we know the Lord) we are new creatures in Christ. Through His work on the cross, He saved us. For in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28a). God deserves the praise for anything we are and anything we can do. There is absolutely no room for pride. We are completely dependent on His grace.

But, we have a problem, don’t we? Instead of living lives of constant praise and gratitude to God, we tend to be self-satisfied, self-reliant, self-conscious, self-pleasing. Notice all the references to self? We are just plain self-ish!

The opposite of humility is selfish pride. Pride actually takes the credit away from God and puts it on us.

We can learn humility by getting closer to our Lord.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.


  1. Cuanta razón tienes cuanto mas humildes decimos que somos, mas orgullo demostramos. Cuando nos alejamos un poco del camino y actitud que nos mostró y tubos Cristo menos humildad tenemos o mostramos por mucho que digamos. Si nos mantenemos con la mirada fija en lo que el Señor quiere para nosotros, mas humildes somos.

    1. Thank you, Tere, for your comment. God bless you!

  2. C. S. Lewis said something like, "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." Though it is very true that in ourselves we're sinful and have absolutely nothing to brag about, some get obsessed even with that, talking all the time about how unworthy they are, but still talking about themselves. How much better to be preoccupied with Christ.

    1. What a great quote by C. S. Lewis! Thank you for sharing it! God bless!


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