Humility ~ Part 3

In my last post, we looked at the concept of humility from the pages of the Tanakh. In this post, we turn to the Brit Hadashah to help us understand the characteristic of being humble.

Humility Defined

Humility is a personal quality in which an individual shows dependence on God and respect for other persons. Various Bible translations use humble, meekness, gentleness, tender, mild, afflicted and considerate to describe the characteristic of humility.

Humility in the Brit Hadashah [1]

Yeshua life provides the best example of what it means to have humility. “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.” (Matthew 11:29; see also 1 Corinthians 4:21 and Philippians 2:1-11).

Yeshua preached and taught often about the need for humility. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12 and Luke 14:11; 18:14)  “Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35)

Yeshua urged those who desired to live by Kingdom standards to practice humility. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” (Matthew 18:1ff)

A person with humility does not look down on others. Humility in the Brit Hadashah is closely connected with the quality of “meekness.” “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5 ESV)

While God resists those who are proud, He provides grace for the humble. “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” (James 4:6)

Primary in the Brit Hadashah is the conviction that one who has humility will not be overly concerned about his or her prestige. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)   “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” (Romans 12:16) “Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?” (2 Corinthians 11:7)

Sha’ul believed that quality relationships with other people, especially those who had erred spiritually, hinged on the presence of gentleness, meekness or humility (see Acts 20:19; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:25).

Both the Tanakh and the Brit Hadashah affirm that God will exalt those who are humble and bring low those who are proud (see Luke 1:52; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

The Greek world abhorred the quality of meekness or humility, but the Christian community believed these qualities were worthy (see 2 Corinthians 10:18; Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 4:2).

A humble man is often looked upon as a coward, a cringing, despicable, slavish type of person. Many men fear humility. They feel humility is a sign of weakness and will make them the object of contempt and abuse; causing them to be shunned and overlooked. This is tragic:

  • A humble spirit is necessary for salvation. “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)
  • God’s idea of humility is not weakness and cowardice.

God makes people strong. God infuses a new spirit within a person that causes them to conquer all throughout life. He does not want the person walking around in pride. He wants the person to do what the definition says: to offer himself in a spirit of submissiveness and lowliness; not to act high-minded, proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive.

Humility has the strength to control and discipline; and it does so at the right time.

  • The humble person has a humble state of mind.
  • The humble person has a strong state of mind. It is not a weak mind that ignores and neglects evil and wrongdoing, abuse and suffering.
  • If evil is running rampant and indulging itself, humility actually strikes out in anger.
  • If evil is being done, humility does what it can to stop and correct it.
  • If someone is suffering, humility steps in to do what it can to help.
  • The humble person has a strong self-control. The humble person controls his spirit and mind. He controls the lusts of his flesh. He does not give way to ill-temper, retaliation, passion, indulgence, or license. (see James 1:21)

In summary, the humble man walks in a but strong state of mind; denies himself, giving utmost consideration to others. He shows a control and righteous anger against injustice and evil. A humble man forgives and lives for others because of what Yeshua has done for him.

In my next post, we will explore a concept related to the characteristic of Humility: Submission and Surrender?

 Click here for PDF version.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references in this series will be from the New American Standard Bible (NASB ~ 1995 Update)

One thought on “Humility ~ Part 3

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s