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Pastoral 2013

The Necessity of Humility


Humility is a necessary virtue that all Christians ought to put on. God’s Word commands everyone to “be clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5). But why is humility such a necessity for Christians?

That we may be more like our Master

Humility of heart is the chief mark by which the followers of the meek and lowly Lamb of God are to be known. “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” (Philippians 2:3-5). May we conscientiously follow our Lord, who is meek and lowly, by denying the pride of this world and putting on the beauty of His lowliness.

That we may provide no ground for sin to grow

As people increasingly take pride in affluence, status and appearance, all forms of sin are abounding. Self-centredness, pride and worldliness have already crept into the church and into the hearts of many a Christian. How sad it is that lowliness and godliness are hardly the distinguishing marks of Christianity nowadays! We are exhorted, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26; cf. 1 Timothy 6:3-5). Humility is the only soil in which virtues and graces will grow.

That we may joyfully serve God and our fellow men with all diligence

It is the humility within the heart that prepares and motivates a man to serve God and fellow men. That is why Paul said, “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind” (Acts 20:19). None who stretches his hand to labour without humility can be a true servant of the Lord.

Church leaders are to be humble servants of the Lord. But many leaders take pleasure in being in charge, making decisions that affect the church, delegating implementation of those decisions to others, “running the show”, having others defer to them in meetings and the like. As one gets ahead, it is hard not to be big-headed! But to be a faithful leader of the church, one ought to be humble.

The proper attitude in leadership is best reflected in Paul’s words found in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Such a humble, servant-like spirit helped Paul always to serve for the joy of others rather than his own. So he wrote to the Corinthian church, saying, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy...” (2 Corinthians 1:24).