Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Humility is much urged and enjoined in the Bible, but as a virtue it is doubted or even negatively received in the world. Problems with humility for Christians may stem from the facts that different people have different views on what it means to be humble and that examples of false humility are plentiful. Is it humility to pretend to think little of yourself? What is true humility? What does the humble person look like?

Jesus says that we should learn humility by following his example. Would you like to know whether you are humble? Here are some indications of true humility taken from Jesus’ life.

First, those who desire to be humble should not be ashamed of performing any task, even those the worldly heart may consider base or humiliating, such as washing the feet of others.

Second, they must readily acknowledge themselves at fault when appropriate and not esteem themselves over others. And even if they are not at fault they ought to love their accusers.

Third, as Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman at the well, they should serve all, not favoring family or friends or tribe or country, not favoring friends or respectable people, though the service may differ according to the state of the one being served.

Fourth, the humble take up Jesus’ yoke and become obedient. They should prefer to do the will of others over their own will, and they should love the will of Jesus most of all.

Fifth, they should follow Jesus, who had nowhere to lay his head. They should be so far from covetousness that they “divest and disencumber themselves from all things, clinging only to God, who cannot unite himself with a worldly heart. Such should bow to the earth beneath God and his creatures, in self-annihilation inward and outward; and this is what is meant by forsaking all things.” Tauler

Sixth, they should accept suffering. Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” And so they who follow him and learn from him willingly accept the suffering God permits them to undergo, hoping, believing, and trusting in him, thereby learning the fellowship of sharing in Jesus’ suffering.

Seventh, they should empty themselves, become servants, and live to do God’s will.

True humility is nothing less than the beauty of the life of Christ.

See also:

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.