The Explanation of Humility

I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.
–Romans 12:3

What does it mean for Christians to be united? Paul said in Philippians 2:2, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind.” First, to be united means that we have the same mind.

Now, there are a lot of differences of opinion in the church I pastor. For example, we have different perspectives on creation. We also have different perspectives on the end times and the gifts of the Spirit. But those are secondary issues. When Paul said we need to be of the “same mind,” he meant we have to agree on the basics if we’re going to be united as a church. We have to believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to be united in our belief of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. We have to be united in our belief of the substitutionary blood atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins. We have to be united in our belief that Jesus Christ is coming back literally, physically, to set up His kingdom on this earth. Someone once said, “In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, diversity. In all things, charity.” That’s how we ought to be in the church. When it comes to essential beliefs, we are to be of the same mind.

Second, being united means that we are to have the same love. That is, we have the same love for God and for one another. Moreover, we need to be “united in spirit” and “intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:2). How do we maintain unity when the church is so diverse? In a word: humility. The key to maintaining unity in spite of diversity is humility. In his letter, Paul explained what humility is: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (2:3-4).

To be humble doesn’t mean you go around with a worm mentality, thinking, “Oh, I’m just a lowly worm. I’m nothing. God, have pity on me.” That’s not humility. So what does it mean to have humility? Humility means seeing ourselves as God sees us. In Romans 12:3, Paul said, “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.” In terms of ourselves, humility means realizing that any good thing in our lives is the result of what other people or ultimately God has done for us. Paul said, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). In terms of other people, humility means putting the needs of other people above ourselves. Someone once said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Humility means putting the interests of others above your own.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How to Make Your Enemies Love You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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