Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (ESV)
It is a humbling privilege to be chosen by God, to be the object of his affection and for him to consider us as holy. We are totally deserving of neither God’s attention nor his benefits. Had he not called us out of our darkness into the marvelous light of his Son we would have been doomed to eternal perdition.
Humility is the humiliation or modesty of the mind. Peter wrote, Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8 ESV) In other words, humility is thinking of others as more highly than ourselves and not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). Paul wrote, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)
Humility realizes that God is our provider. We have nothing of which we did not receive (1 Corinthians 4:7). Humility understands that we are God’s vessels from which his love flows to others in service. Pride causes us to rely upon our own strength for provision and gives us a sense of entitlement; as though others should serve us. Humility keeps life in perspective in relation to both God and man.
Humility keeps pride at bay and God up close. The prophet Isaiah wrote, For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15 ESV) God dwells with and looks upon the humble (Isaiah 66:2).
The benefits of humility are numerous. God adorns the humble with salvation (Psalms 149:4), leads the humble and teaches them his way (Psalms 25:9), lifts up the humble (Psalms 147:6; 1 Peter 5:6) and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Peter wrote, Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV) With the humble there is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
When we clothe ourselves with humility we adorn ourselves in the likeness of Jesus Christ. First of all, Christ humbled himself in total obedience to his Father. He only did the things his Father was doing (John 5:19). Paul wrote this about our Savior; 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 likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)
Jesus said he came to serve, not to be served and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Paul exhorted the Philippian church, and us as well, to be of the same mind as Christ (Philippians 2:4-5). Let us be diligent to emulate Christ by putting on the garment of humility.
Do you have the humble mind of Christ?
Scriptures for meditation: