Who is a humble person? How do we assess our own humility?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines humility as “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” That is a wonderful definition. But we normally don’t get it this way. Traditionally, we have come to understand humility as a life of melancholy (quiet and thoughtful or pensive). The Bible craves our conscience to rethink.
Humility is a prescription for God’s church, especially those who desire to lead. Jesus unequivocally said, “… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant [diakonos]” (Mathew 20: 26-28) and panton doulos, meaning “slave of all” (Mark 10: 43-44). Jesus’ pathway to humility doesn’t look pretty. Yet that is exactly. These are few characteristics of a humble person.
Humility is born out of love: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15: 13; Philippians 2: 2). Jesus exemplified leadership by going through the most exquisite and shameful death to save the world. Unless we love others, we cannot humble ourselves to them.
Humility is a lowly spirit: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2: 3-4). Humility respects, accepts, and instead of self superiority, it claims a secondary status. People with humility thinks first of others well-being before their own comfort.
Humility is childlikeness: And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 18:3). Childlikeness is not being childish. Children doesn’t concern themselves so much about consequences. They learn to trust and hope in their parents for their providence. When an adult cries for food, it means there is no food for him; hopelessness. When children cry for food, they are calling attention to their hunger knowing that their parents are capable. Humility trusts and hopes in all things just like a child. Humility listens well to all persons.
Humility is service: “… the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (Luke 22: 26). Service to God and humanity. When Jesus emphasized that “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12: 31), he meant to say that we must give a quintessential service to society. Servant-leadership must be accountable enough to enrich others. Service to selfish gain is not a divine prescription.
Humility is Christ: “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” (Mathew 11, 29). In Christ is hidden all the treasures of humility. The harmony in his words and life becomes an example for all men. We are called to have his mind:
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: “(Philippians 2: 5).
Humility is a harmony of ones life and words. It is a life characterized by Christlikeness. Ellen G. White sums it up this way “A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world” (Life Sketches, p. 86.2).