Gospel Seed of Humility
4 Examples Of Humility In The Bible
Here are four great examples of humility in the Bible.
There is no greater example of humility in the entire Bible than you find in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul writes of Christ in Philippians that we should “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4).
I am glad Jesus didn’t look to His own interests because He prayed three times in the Garden to have the cup removed from Him, so Paul admonishes us to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the ness of men” (Phil 2:5-7). What if Christ said, “No one else is being crucified who is innocent? Why do I have to die, I didn’t do anything,” instead, “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). Jesus gave up the glory He had in heaven. He gave up His place on the throne where God rules the universe. He gave up His power to defend Himself but willingly gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He loved us so much that He died for us. He endured such shame, ridicule, scorn, torture, humility, and an agonizing death on a cross. Now that’s humbling oneself to the point of death! What greater humility is there?
…meekness and humility are from the same mind.
The Bible records that “the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth” (Num 12:3), and that’s saying a lot! Imagine being the meekest man on earth, and I don’t believe you can be prideful while being meek, but meekness and humility are from the same mind. We had better not associate meekness with weaknesses, because Moses was anything but week.
He was a shepherd in some of the harshest lands there were, often walking, tending sheep, and doing all sorts of work associated with being a shepherd, so Moses was not weak. Andre the Giant was a huge man who was a former professional wrestler, but when he was on the set, he was as quiet as a mouse.
Anyone that knew him knew that he was a very humble, meek man, but would anyone think that Andre the Giant was weak? By all means, no, so being meek doesn’t mean being weak. It means being small in your own eyes.When God was ready to wipe out Israel for being disobedient, again, God said, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you” (Ex 32:10). How many of us would say, “Hey, God, that’s a great idea. You’ll make a great nation after me? I that.
” Moses shows us where his heart is as he begins to intercede, sort of a mediator, on behalf of Israel. Moses reminds God that He promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation (Ex 32:13), so thanks to Moses, Israel was not consumed and “the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” (Ex 32:14).
When Paul was writing to the church at Philippi, he reminded them about Timothy that “I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me” (Phil 2:23), “and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also” (Phil 2:24), but he was going to send Epaphroditus, and wrote “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need” (Phil 2:25), because “he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow” (Phil 2:26-27). Now here’s where Epaphroditus’ humility comes in. Paul writes that the church should “receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me” (Phil 2:29-30). Epaphroditus nearly died for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps it was from exhaustion or exposure to the elements in helping Paul and delivering his letters to the church or the church at Philippi or maybe Epaphroditus was in prison with Paul for a time, but regardless of what it was, Epaphroditus poured his life into helping Paul and the church so much that he nearly died from it. He literally risked his life in order to be Paul’s servant and right-hand man. Unless someone is humble, they wouldn’t dare go this far and give this much! He esteemed Paul’s life better than his own and his own life as expendable for the gospel’s sake. That is a very profound sign of humility.
We have already read a few examples of Paul’s humility and what he thinks about it in the Book of Philippians. He has already mentioned the humility of Jesus Christ, Who is God and yet He divested Himself of the glory and honor for a time, in order to be born in the flesh and to humble Himself to the point of death on a cross, but Paul lost much too.
He was among the brightest of the Jewish religious group; a Pharisee regarding the law or being an expert in the law, being a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and being from the stock or tribe of Benjamin (Phil 3:5). He was on his way up before his Damascus Road experience (Acts 9), already in charge of rooting out the believers (Phil 3:6) as a young man.
Paul had it all! But after knowing Christ, he wrote “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:8).
Paul’s humility is on display where he considers himself as the least of the apostles (1st Cor 15:9), and the chief of all sinners (1st Tim 1:15). No one says that publicly that is not already humble.
If we think back on the night of the Passover meal, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, even the feet of the one who would betray Him. That act of humility might be the single, greatest act of humility ever done in history.
Here was God Himself, in Jesus Christ, taking the form of a servant and washing the dirty, smelly feet of the disciples…even the feet of an enemy (Judas Iscariot), to give us an example of serving in humility He did. We have no excuse. Christ set the bar for humility.
I to think that God’s grace is water…it always flows downhill and seeks the lowest level; it never reaches the high and lofty places, but only to those who are low, meek, and humble.
Take a look at these Bible verses too: Bible Verses About HumilityResource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Photo rendered from Logos Bible Software 6.0 Visual Copy.
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The Challenge of Gospel Seed Sowing
THE work of seed sowing is not “peanuts.” The sower has to con tend not only with the temper of the elements but with all kinds of unpredictable as well as predict able factors. When the Saviour portrayed the gospel work as seed sowing (Matt. 13:3-8), He was both warning and challenging ministers in every age that their task is no weekend picnic.
Anyone who conceives of the minister's role as sitting on a throne of glory, with every eye riveted on him, is surely day dreaming. True, there will be thrones and crowns (Rev.
5:10) but those will be unpacked after the harvest. Meanwhile, there are only the yoke and the plow (Matt. 11:29; Luke 9:62). And the true seed sower really strains and sweats.
His back is drenched by the rain and his skin is scorched by the sun.
In the Work or at Work?
There is a joke about a fellow who was about to be awarded a certificate of merit for being the only employee who never took a single coffee break. Queried about the secret of his “unusual feat,” he replied candidly, “I never took a coffee break because coffee keeps me awake.
” The moral of the story one can be in the work without really working. The proof of a worker's honest labor is not in a punch card or in a labor re port. It is rather in the ultimate fruit or result.
The end product reveals whether the minister has been working hard or hardly working.
The Enemy's Tares
In all fairness to the clergy, their work is beset with “tares” (Matt. 13:25), commonly known as pit falls or occupational hazards. Every day there are subtle as well as overt pressures to which the minister is exposed. Daily contact with the woes and the ups and downs of human problems is hard on the mind and nerves. After all, the minister is also made of clay.
Every now and then it is mandatory for the minister to “be still” (Ps. 46:10), to calmly survey the harvest field, and be on the look out for the enemy's tares such as:
a. The Popularity Poll, There is danger that the minister will measure his performance via a spiritual Gallup poll. There is a temptation to subscribe to the Apollos; Peter, or Paul syndrome (1 Cor, 1:11, 12).
Elijah is a prime exhibit, first, he was up there on the mountain-top of -physical and emotional achievement, savoring the sweet nectar of victory. Momentarily, the crowd was on his side, yelling, “The Lord, he is the God” (1 Kings 18:39).
The distinct manifestation of God's power and glory on his behalf caused Elijah's spirit to soar on a euphoric cloud of sheer religious ecstasy.
But as the weight of human reality began pressing down upon his soul, the poor preacher was next found cowering under the chilling assault of fear and cynicism and the derisive mockery of a deflated ego (chap. 19).
The minister must constantly remind himself that as there were different types of soil in the parable of the sower and each sample yielded a different result, so conditions are often variable and people are often unpredictable. Public acclaim is a shaky yardstick of one's achievement. Today's “hosannas” might just be the prelude to a “crucifixion” on the morrow.b. The Quest for Perfect Conditions. Once in a while, ministers other people, indulge in some form of wishful thinking.
“If only I had a larger budget, an affluent congregation ultramodern facilities, the proper connections, the gift of spellbinding oratory, or a striking personality headlines would be made and marvelous things accomplished!” But alas, he is jolted back from his reverie and into the stark realization that all he has is the common garden variety, which “to day is, and to morrow is cast 'into the oven” (Matt, 6:30).
Again, the parable teaches that there are no perfect -conditions and “he that observeth the wind shall not sow” (Eccl. 11:4). The sower must “preach the word; . . . in season,; season” (2 Tim. 4:2).
c. The Destruction That Wasteth at Noonday. Noontime is symbolic of success. “He has reached '.-his zenith, or noontime,” is a common expression. It is at noontime that the sun reaches its apex and emits its brightest rays. In SDA parlance it is called “ceiling.” That is the point where salarywise and tenurewise, the minister has attained the maximum.
This is all excellent except when noontime becomes an occasion for destruction (Ps. 91:6). The destruction comes when the minister succumbs to the onslaught of mental and spiritual inertia. That is the juncture where the process of growth grinds to a standstill.
In sports vocabulary, the man is no longer a “hungry” fighter.
He merely goes through :|he motions of survival, his sermons become stale reruns, the church atmosphere turns stuffy with spiritual complacency, the trumpet has lost its distinctive note, and the poor man staggers amid “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
Would to God that every SDA minister may be found after the fashion of Moses, that great preacher of God, who found even at his sunset years that “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7). By the grace of his Lord, he didn't allow the “destruction that wasteth at noon day” to decimate his physical and spiritual stature.
d. The Impatience of inexperience. This is specifically applicable to young and budding ministers. Youth is impatient for tomorrow. Policies are mere “thorns in the flesh.” Committees are often made up of a bunch of arthritic “mothballs” – whose lengthy deliberations delay ,; the march to progress. the; Servants in the parable, youth wants to snatch up the weeds right now (Matt. 13:27, 28).
Rightly channeled and under stood, this youthful and surging energy will yet light the world and set the machinery of progress whirling!
The Good Earth
It is refreshing to realize that the parable of the sower did not end with the thorny ground and the parable of the tares did not conclude with the weeds. For every “wayside” or “stony ground” or “thorny place” there is a “good ground” that yields a “hundredfold.” Good seed is really never wasted! In the time of the harvest there will be abundant “wheat.”
There will be times, though, when; the sky darkens, the lightning flashes, the thunder booms, and the minister buries his face in momentary discouragement.
There wt|j;be moments when he will be tempted to question whether his work is worth all that effort. There will be occasions when the noise of the “rebels” and the “mixed multitude” will goad him to strike the rock in a fit of anger and frustration.There will be instances when he reaches the point of pulling out the “weeds” abruptly.
But when he raises his head again and snaps but of the fog, his eyes dilate in wonder and amazement as he sees before him a golden field of waving grain ready for the harvest!
At last he remembers with holy joy that Paul planted, “Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6).
Mark 1:1-8 – A Lesson in Humility | Grace Communion International
Who would you say was the greatest man ever born? If you are a Christian, you might say, “Why, Jesus Christ, of course!” Suppose Jesus himself were asked the question. What do you suppose he would say?
You might be surprised to know that Jesus did once attribute that distinction of greatness to a certain man. He told his disciples, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
|The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”|
John the Baptizer was an amazingly popular figure. Everybody in Jerusalem and people from all over the Judean countryside went out to listen to him preach. But they didn’t just listen–they responded; they confessed their sins and were baptized! Not only was John popular, he was also successful.
For all his popularity and success, though, John was strikingly different from the average man. Many people respond to great popularity and success with a certain degree of pride and swagger. But from the beginning, John the Baptizer was different.
‘Not about me’
Perhaps you have seen the slogan, “It’s not about me.” That was the root of John’s message. He preached about someone else, someone who would come after him whose sandal thongs John did not consider himself even worthy to tie.
John wasn’t interested in the limelight. He wasn’t interested in the praise or admiration of others. He was interested in preparing the way for someone else, and he didn’t let personal ambition get in the way of doing his job well.
John was a baptizer. Among the preparations he made for the coming of Christ was the task of preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It was into this kind of baptism that the people listening to him entered.
Baptism was not an invention of John, nor was it unique to the Israelites. From ancient times, baptism was a well-known symbol, an outward sign, of a new spiritual birth, of entering into a new form of life.
For those whom John baptized, it marked their confession that they were sinners. When we admit we are sinners, we are laying aside our human pride and confessing the truth of what we really are. But we are not making that confession blindly. We are making it in the light of the revealed knowledge that God loves us immeasurably, and that he has made atonement for us in Jesus Christ.
In other words, because God has revealed to us that he isfor us, we are free in Christ both to fearlessly acknowledge our sinfulness before God, and free to accept God’s gift of atonement and his new creation of us in Jesus Christ.
Because we have met with the grace of God in Jesus Christ, we can entrust ourselves to him fully and without reservation. Safe in his love, we can give over to him even the crushing burdens of our darkest sins and fears.
Within that confession of our sinfulness is our recognition that we need God’s forgiveness. We admit that we are rebels who have betrayed God’s love, and we place ourselves at his mercy, having now renounced our rebellion and pledged faithful obedience.
But actually becoming that new person, entering that new life, turning over that new leaf, is another question entirely. When we try to do that, we find ourselves failing–fighting our old ways, but losing so often we can easily fall into despair.
That is, unless we trust God to be who he really is for us in Jesus Christ!
In Christ, we are a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15). And we are set free (Galatians 5:1)! God has freed us to be the new, redeemed, healed and complete persons he has made us to be in Christ.We can use that gift of freedom to hear and obey our heavenly Father, or we can reject it and continue to live as though God had not made us his covenant partner, as though he had not made us the beloved recipients of his overflowing grace in Christ (verse 13).
No longer must we live in spiritual bondage, struggling in vain to grasp here and there a little respect, dignity, security and love in this heartless world. No longer must everything in life be about us and our anxieties about not getting all the things we think we want. No longer must we live in opposition to God, ourselves and our neighbor.
The Holy Spirit both gives us ears to hear God’s command and provides us our new life in Christ. In that new life provided by the Holy Spirit, we are free to choose to be the person in Christ God has already chosen us to be. To do otherwise is not freedom, but a return to bondage.
All this repenting, believing and passing through the waters of baptism have meaning only because God gives them meaning.
Only because the Son of God took the indescribable action of becoming one of us–living sinlessly as one of us, dying on the cross as one of us, being resurrected as one of us, ascending to and being received by the Father as one of us, does any of it make any sense at all.
It makes sense because God, in his divine freedom to be who he wants to be for our sakes, makes it make sense. We are saved by God’s grace–his love, his utter faithfulness to his redemptive purpose for the humanity he loves so much that in Christ he took humanity itself into himself.
A lesson in humility
God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus Christ, and through Christ to reconcile to himself all things in heaven and earth through Christ’s death (see Colossians 1:19-20).
That is the way God chose to make us into a new creation. The Son of God took humanity into himself, and in his perfect obedient sacrifice of love, he reconciled humanity to God.
It is to this God, the God who in immeasurable love humbled himself to take all our burdens upon himself, including our ugliest sins, and turn us into a new and beautiful creation in his Son, that we owe complete allegiance and obedience.
John’s ministry was a ministry of humility. Baptism is an expression of humility. The Son of God humbled himself to become one of us for our sakes. And the new life in Christ that is given to us by our Creator and Redeemer is a life of humility.
It’s not about me. If it were about me, what would I do? How can I heal my own past, my present and future? How can I redeem my own faults, sins, betrayals and rebellion? How can I secure my future or the future of those I care about?
No, thank God, it’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God incarnate (in the flesh) for our sakes. He is the one who heals our personal history, redeems our every dark sin, secures our future and gives us deep peace and rest.
Praise be to God that we can drop all our airs of superiority and pride, and humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God, because he is truly our all in all.
- How did Mark describe the gospel (v. 1)?
- What prophecy did John fulfill (vs. 2-3)?
- How are repentance and humility related?
- Why can we confess our sins without fear?
J. Michael Feazell, 2003, 2012
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Augustine on Humility – The Gospel Coalition | Canada
Did you ever play “The Game of Life” or MASH as a kid? The goal is to get the best house, the best job, and the best family. Sometimes my sister and I wouldn’t even roll the die to see what we got, we’d just play “choose your favourite life”!
As I got older, these games turned into real daydreams about getting married, setting up my own house, driving my favorite car, and enjoying all the perks of adulthood. The details of these dreams changed after I became a Christian, but I kept dreaming about my ideal life. Thus, when I came across Augustine’s story, I was captivated by his own search for the ideal life.
Augustine’s view of the ideal life changed drastically after turning to Christ. Before his conversion, he believed that the ideal life was marked by power, success, knowledge, control, leisure, and external morality. After his conversion, he believed that the ideal life was marked by humility.
All of the ways he tried to attain his ideal life before his conversion were marked by pride—he wanted to be self-sufficient, independent, and perfect—and this pride kept him from repentance.
It was only when he relinquished his desire for that kind of ideal life that he discovered the real ideal life, seen in Christ, the perfect God-man.In light of this profound personal experience, Augustine taught that humility was central to the Christian life.
In a letter to a student, he wrote “I wish you to prepare for yourself no other way of seizing and holding the truth than that which has been prepared by [God]…in that way the first part is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility.
” According to Augustine, humility is 1) exhibited primarily in Christ’s death on the cross, 2) Christ’s remedy for the sickness of sin, and 3) leads to the happy life.
Humility is exhibited primarily in Christ’s death on the cross
Augustine argued that Jesus is the supreme example of humility: he not only condescended to be born as a human being, but he also died a gruesome death for finite and sinful people. Christ himself said in Matthew 11:28-29 that people should learn from him because of his meekness and humility, not because of the impressive miracles he performed.
Humility is Christ’s remedy for the sickness of sin
Christ was not only the pre-eminent example of humility, but through his humility he provided salvation to human beings.
Augustine repeatedly accused humanity of being full of sinful pride and in need of receiving salvation through Christ’s humility.
He often referred to pride as a physical infirmity or “swelling” that could only be healed through Christ’s “remedy,” “cure,” or “medicine” of humility.
Humility leads to the happy life
In his spiritual autobiography The Confessions, Augustine often reflected on how his moments of greatest pain and sorrow were when he relied on himself, and his moments of greatest comfort and joy were when he experienced God’s humbling grace in his life.
To Augustine, one reaches the ideal life to the extent that one practices humility as the highest form of self-development.
Rather than ascending to an ideal existence through power, knowledge, and morality, one lives an ideal existence by falling before Christ, the true ideal Person, who humbled himself in death on a cross.
As I was researching Augustine’s view of humility for my first PhD class, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision for me to not continue in my program because of unexpected life events.
Thus, Augustine’s words became very real to me in everyday life and tested my obedience—was I willing to humble myself before Christ even when I didn’t what that meant, and when I didn’t know why I had to do it in this way? I had to embrace humility and tell myself, “my life will not be meaningless if I do not get a PhD” and “I will not idolize vocation or misconstrue it,” even though everything in me wanted to fight for my right to do this degree.
This experience taught me that I didn’t really earn the right to do a PhD; rather, it was a gift from God, and it was not foundational to my personhood or my ideal life. In the end, God brought about another unexpected event that allowed me to remain in my program.
I’m very happy about this, but it has also brought on even more external pressures, and I’m certain that the real reason I feel happier now than I did several months ago is because I’ve rejected the sinful, internal pressure I felt from my Roman (and Western) ideal of perfection and success.Having power or success in this world is not evil in itself. But letting one’s heart be driven by dreams of an ideal life marked by the primacy of self is the opposite of excellence in the Christian life.
The next time you think about being the best you, write out yearly goals, or daydream about your ideal life, remember what Augustine said.
If you don’t want to take it from him or me, take it from Christ, who, in response to the question “who is the best?” said the person who “humbles himself” (Matt. 18:4). According to Christ, humility is the best way to live.
Jenny-Lyn de Klerk is the Puritan Project Assistant at Regent College in Vancouver (follow her on Instagram @puritanjenny) and an Assistant Editor for Books at a Glance.
She is currently working on a PhD at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Kansas City, MO), blogs at jennylynsandra.wordpress.com and historicaltheology.
org, and is married to JD who serves as Associate Pastor at Richmond Alliance Church.