Humility - The Lost Virtue — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Humility – The Lost Virtue — Morning Devotions

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

By Chris WittsMonday 24 Jun 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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When Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest with tens and Norgay in 1953 he reportedly took with him a symbol of his achievement. And it remains buried somewhere up there at the top of the world. A small crucifix. Remarkable. Yes. When I saw this story, I thought it was remarkable. Edmund Hillary, by all accounts, was a humble man who didn’t take credit for his climb to Mount Everest today.

Have we somehow lost the true significance of humility? It seems we are so interested in ourselves and what’s best for us. That humility is completely unnatural.

Humility has become a lost art because the world has fed us this lie that our life is all about us. My interests, my opinions. They matter most. But is that the best way of living? I think not. We’ve got this attitude. I am the centre of the universe. Just like the professor who at the university had a sign outside his door. ‘Come in. No, I’m not conceited. Although I have every right to be so.’

People desire power and glory driven by this selfish ambition. There seems to be a level of self assertion and focusing on who we are being our own person, selling ourselves, promoting ourselves and making ourselves out to be greater than we really are. It’s much like the Frank Sinatra song ‘My Way’.

So I think there’s a lot of confusion about this word. Humility. One day, Winston Churchill was criticising a political opponent at a press conference, and a reporter interrupted him. Surely, Mr Churchill, you must admit he’s a humble, modest man. To which Churchill quickly replied, He is a humble man. But then again, he has much to be humble about.

The Christian leader, Rick Warren, says humility is not denying your strengths. It’s being honest about your weaknesses, to be humble. What does that mean to do an honest self appraisal by admitting the truth about ourselves, so avoid bragging and putting ourselves down. At the same time, humility is acknowledging the truth about what we are and what we’re not. It was CS. Lewis, who once said, the true humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.

I think that’s a great definition, a humble person respects all people as being equally worthy of respect. They are grateful, not demanding, someone who gives the other guy the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps ST Augustine was not exaggerating when he wrote. Almost the whole of Christian teaching is humility. Elsewhere, in a letter responding to a young student, he wrote.

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If you were to ask me, however, often you might repeat the questions, what are the instructions of the Christian religion? I would be disposed to answer always and only humility. The Apostle Paul expressed it very well in his letter to the Philippians in the New Testament. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility, value others above yourself, not looking at your own interests.

But each of you look to the interests of the others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who being in the very nature God made himself nothing. Taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness, and he humbled himself in the Bible, God put such a high importance on humility.

For example, Matthew Chapter 23 says the greatest among you shall be your servant and whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. Matthew also said in his gospel chapter 18, Jesus called Over a little Child. One day he put his hand on top of the child’s head and said, Unless you change and become like little Children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.

In that kingdom, Jesus said, the most humble, who are most like this child are the greatest. He didn’t tell the child to become like his disciples. He told the disciples to become like this little child, and it fits in with John the Baptist, whose motto was Jesus Must Increase and I Must Decrease.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, help me to understand this huge topic of humility. Lord, many of us have a problem with humility. We’re not prepared to stand aside for the other person. And yet that is what you taught. All your teaching is about putting ourselves last and giving the other guy the fair go. May this lesson be really ingrained in my thinking. Today I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.