How many times have you heard people seeking elective office use the words, ‘I humble offer myself for the position of ….’
Humility is widely and generally recognised as a virtue, so much so that people use it as a tool to get favourable responses from people. Once these ‘humble’ people get what they want, the humility goes out of the window and that is when you realize that there was nothing humble about them in the first instance.
What is humility by the way? The dictionary meaning of humility is, ‘the quality of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank or status.
We see from this definition that a humble man is not necessarily a poor man or one with a quiet personality. In fact, it is easier to see whether a person is humble or not, when that person is in a position of wealth, power and affluence.
People usually picture a humble man as one who walks with a particular posture, rarely talks and even when he does; it’s with a soft and gentle voice. He never gets angry and most often than not, people take advantage of them. Does this really paint a true picture of who a humble man is? Let us take a peek into scripture and get some answers.
In Numbers 12:3, we see the first reference to a man not only described as humble but was said to be more humble than anyone else in world at that time. Who is this man? Well, if you haven’t checked the reference, the man was Moses. ‘What?!’, I can almost hear someone say. ‘Wasn’t Moses the one who didn’t enter the promise land because he was angry? He even destroyed the first stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments!’
Well, I didn’t say he was a humble man, the Bible said he was and that he was more humble that anyone is his generation.
Let us examine Moses in the light of our definition of humility. Moses was no doubt a very powerful and important man. He led a whole nation out of slavery. He worked fantastic miracles and was God’s mouth piece to the children of Israel.
What was so special about Moses that God regarded him as a humble man? It was simply the fact that Moses did not allow the immense power and influence at his disposal get to his head. He was a leader who carried the burden of his people, so much so when God told him to step back so that he could destroy the children of Israel for their recalcitrance and constant grumblings, Moses pleaded with God to forgive them and even offered that his name be blotted out of God’s book in exchange.
The perfect example of humility is our Lord Jesus Christ. He left all of his glory on heaven and came to the earth to set us free from sin. He had to do this by offering Himself for us as the ultimate sacrifice. He ‘went around doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil’ Acts 10:38.
What is the hallmark of humble men? They are not the soft spoken, timid or patronizing men trying to curry your favour. They do not use their power, influence or position to pursue their own interests. Sometimes they wave their rights for the sake of others and are genuinely concerned about others’ welfare.
As followers of Christ, are we expected to be humble? I say a resounding yes! Peter confirms this by saying, ‘All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)
Sad to say, many of us who profess to be Christians, believe in being humble yet whenever our humility is tested, we fail woefully. It is easier to see a lack of humility in others than in ourselves. There have been times I have listened to some preachers subtly exhibit pride in themselves and in their ministries rather than walk in the understanding that the ministry is not about what they have achieved but what God has achieved through them.
Humility is learned as we submit ourselves to God’s will. Even Jesus had to learn humility by coming to the world through a simple childhood, submitting to His parents even when He clearly knew a lot more than they ever could.
Steve O. Popoola
© Biblepraise Fellowship Online, October, 2010.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org.
He currently resides in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church as well as in the music ministry. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org