Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“Love . . . does not boast; it is not arrogant. . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:4b ESV).
As we continue our journey of discovery into what matters most to God, there is a fourth quality that God seeks in the hearts of His followers. It is a quality that we all wish other people would show toward us, but that we sometimes only grudgingly show toward others: humility.
In his letter to Corinthian believers, Paul describes a believer’s potential lack of humility in a couple behavioral ways. First, he says that bragging does not reflect the love of God in one’s heart. Considering the context of the prior and following chapters, some believers may have been bragging, drawing attention to themselves about their ability to speak in tongues. Paul says that being a self-promoting windbag is not loving others as Christ loves us.
Second, he says that arrogance does not reflect the love of God in one’s heart. This same Greek word pops up earlier in Paul’s letter. Several times in chapter 4, and again in chapters 5 and 8, he warns about the wrongness of being puffed up in one context or another.
A puffed up person is a disappointment to God. Knowing that the eyes of Almighty God are on us, how dare we become so full of ourselves, so pride-filled, that we act arrogantly toward others?!
Stated in the positive, a person who does not boast and who is not arrogant is a person who is humble. Think of humility as “honoring others by drawing attention to them instead of to our self.” Think not, however, that meekness means weakness. Meekness—humility—is actually strength that is self-controlled. Humility is one of the special ways that we can show respect to others.
One of the best examples of humility is Jesus Christ Himself. Philippians 2 gets very specific about the ways that Jesus—“Emmanuel”—demonstrated humility. Again while praying on the Mount of Olives before His imminent crucifixion, Jesus said:
Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.
Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.
(Luke 22:42 ESV)
His example is sobering and powerful.
Privately or with some friends, please ponder the relationship of humility to these issues:
Do you want to honor Him and do what matters most to Him? I do. Let’s take our eyes off ourselves and fix our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. Let’s cultivate humility.
© 2018 John C Garmo