God's Character

Christ’s Example of Humility

March 6, 2014

It’s sad to say, but we live in a world filled with pride. The world promotes the importance of pride in your appearance, in your children, your occupation, your accomplishments and the list goes on and on.  Pride is the opposite of humility, and God wants his children, his believers, to be humble in all things.

Pride points people towards yourself and your accomplishments, while humility points people to God for everything he has given you. God honors humility in the believer, and showed the ultimate example of humility believers should follow in his son, Jesus Christ.

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Philippians 2:1-9

In verses 1-4 Paul is speaking to the members of the Church at Philippi. In verse 5, Paul illustrates the instructions given in verses 1-4 using the example of Christ and his sacrifice. He says “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: ”. He’s instructing the church to have a Christ like mind, and he is about to shew what that mindset was.

He “made himself of no reputation”

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Zechariah 9:9

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
II Corinthians 8:9

He even called himself Jesus, which is the Greek rendering of the name “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”, which means Jehovah is salvation. Even his name gave glory to another, not himself.

Jesus always gave glory to the father, and did not lift himself up. That’s the essence of making himself of no reputation.

He “took upon him the form of a servant”

And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:23

This verse is not literally speaking of David the king, as he had been dead hundreds of years by this time. The name David meant “the well beloved”, or “the son of the father”, and by this, we know God was referring to Christ the Messiah. Christ was to be a servant that fed the sheep, and he did just that.

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
John 13:13-15

This is the account of Christ washing the disciple’s feet, giving them the example that they should serve one another. They should be servants.

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:28

You see, kings, presidents, dignitaries, all these generally have many servants, and their reputation is elevated, and they are served by many. How many secretaries does our current (US) first lady have? I saw it reported as more than 20 paid members on her staff. That’s just unbelievable.

That is not the idea of being a servant. That’s the idea of being a master, and having others serve you. Christ was a servant who ministered (served) many.

He “was made in the likeness of men”

Some other renderings of the word “likeness” include resemblance, shape or similitude. Christ, the king of glory and the worshiped one, was made to endure as a man, in the flesh, just like us.

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Galatians 4:4-5

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Romans 8:3

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself”

All the things aforementioned in Philippians 2:7 lead up to verse 8. He was found in fashion as a man, again, he had all the same temptations in his flesh, just as we have, and yet, he humbled himself.

The word “humbled” here means to depress, to humiliate, to abase, or bring low.

Christ literally humiliated himself, brought himself down, abased himself. From the glory of heaven and the presence of God, Christ came down, shrunk himself down, and down, more and more until finally he was just a little zygote in the womb of Mary. He went on to become a man, to keep himself from purposefully garnering and receiving a reputation, and to be a servant both to the Jews and the Gentiles.

All of this that was spoken of in Philippians 2:7, and into verse 8 shows one thing – humility. A humble person is one that is not concerned for himself, but for others, to deflect and redirect praise to God the father, to be lowly, with a bent knee and spirit toward God. Believers are to esteem others better than themselves as it states (above) in Philippians 2:3. In other words believers are to have an opinion of other Christians as being better than they are. Because once a believer thinks they are better than someone else, pride has entered in, and God resists the proud.

I want to mention one more thing about humility.

God’s Promise to the Humble

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Matthew 23:12

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Proverbs 15:33

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4

God will exalt the humble. God will honor the humble.

Let’s go back to Philippians 2:9.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Philippians 2:9

Do you want to have a name? Do you want to be remembered? Humility will ensure that you do. It’s those who give glory to God in everything that make the most difference, and God honors that.

God gave Christ a name above every name!

So the question is – are you proud, or humble? God wants you to be humble. There’s time to repent of pride and learn humility, if you want it…

Perhaps you don’t know Christ as your personal savior. Did you know that you can only be truly humble when you know God? The Bible gives the most powerful examples of humility, sacrifice and love than you’ll find anywhere else.

If you’re not a Christian, or would like to know more of what Christianity is all about, then click here to find out more.

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