Jesus Christ set the example for how we are to carry ourselves in humility. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, equal to God the Father, he humbled himself by not only taking on the form of a man but by taking on the form of a servant of men (Philippians 2:3-9). Jesus accepted less than he deserved so he could help others (us). Let us remember that great Christians, great men, serve others (Matthew 20:26-27).
Being humble does not mean being weak. Nor does it mean denying who you are or that you have talents and skills. Jesus was the humblest man to ever walk the earth, yet he also said he was equal to God and that the Old Testament Scriptures were all about him. Those were bold, strong and some might say, arrogant statements. Yet they were true so he said them. It would not be humble of Michael Jordan to say he was an “okay” basketball player; it would be foolish, an example of false humility. So let us acknowledge who we are and what God has gifted us in, but let us also be willing to serve others, not out of a position of weakness but of strength.
The world tells us (and unfortunately, some in the church also display this attitude) that we should exalt ourselves and that it is all about our wants and desires. But Christ gave us a different model, saying that if we humble ourselves, he will exalt us (Matthew 23:12). We are told to "do unto others as we want them to do unto us'' (Matthew 7:12) and to "love our neighbor as ourselves" (Matthew 19:19). Let us keep this attitude when we interact with others, for that will show the love and compassion of Christ and perhaps lead souls into the kingdom.
Finally, true humility is submitting our will to God's will. Jesus did as much in dying on the cross. Knowing the pain and suffering that awaited him on the cross, he was apprehensive about accepting his fate. Despite that, he went to the cross anyway, saying "not what I will, but what God wills'' (Matthew 14:34-36). So in walking in true humility, a real man puts God's will above his own will.
I. Jesus humbled himself
A. Despite being God, he took on human flesh and became a "servant of men''
II. Great Christians, great men, serve others
A. From a spiritual standpoint, it is better to serve than to be served
III. Humility is not weakness, nor is it denying that we are special and gifted
A. Christ acknowledged his greatness, yet was the humblest man ever
IV. The world's attitude of exalting oneself is contrary to the gospel
A. We humble ourselves and let God and others exalt us
V. We put the wants and needs of others on equal footing with our own
VI. The ultimate expression of humility is doing God's will instead of our own
POSSIBLE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS/TOPICS
I. What can we learn from Jesus' example of humility?
II. What are some ways we can serve others?
III. What are some misconceptions we may have about humility?
IV. Is it possible that if we humble ourselves, God will exalt us in the afterlife rather than in this present life? Does that change our attitude toward humility?
V. Has much of the church bought into the world's viewpoint of exalting ourselves or seeking to be exalted?
VI. What are some examples in our life of doing God's will instead of our own?
VII. How much of a difference would it make in our lives, our communities, our churches, etc. if we adopted Jesus' mindset of putting the needs, cares and desires of others ahead of our own - or on the same footing as our own?