Journal Phil 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, 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).” Phil 2:3-8
Observation: Key word: Humility. Key action to pursue: Humility. Key example: Jesus—before becoming a Man of Flesh and afterwards.
Bonus: There is a reference, a mention of Genesis and Eden here too…almost passed me by…
Analysis: “Is God humble?”
I can’t say I have ever thought about this question; it has never occurred to me to ask. Is Jesus humble? Sure. That one is fairly easy: “For the Bible tells me so…”. Does He have reason to be humble? Depends how being humble looks like and defined.
The best definition of humility I have encountered is “a cogent self-awareness of strength and capability without arrogance (or being arrogant about it).” The definitions that include “self-effacement”, “modesty”, “shyness”, I think are somehow out of focus—certainly concerning the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus knew who and what He was while on the earth. The most self-effacing thing He ever did was, “Shush, don’t tell anybody yet.”
Another vision of humility is not boasting. Jesus really could have said, “You know, that walking on water thing was pretty cool, wasn’t it? Want to see it again?”
If humility is part of the Triune God’s eternal character, then a definition of humility that isn’t centered around Man is needed for us to think about. In fact, in describing God, care must be taken not to include how man thinks and acts to a point—beware of “humanizing” God. After all, we are a shadow only.
So, there are three things to consider in pursuing Godly Humility:
- Don’t pursue arrogance. Arrogance is primarily concerned with thinking higher about myself than I ought to.
- Don’t pursue and resist false humility; beware of a face of humility but not the substance. In the end, it is still prideful arrogance and not the Peace of Christ.
- Count others as more important than yourself. I would have put being a servant here, but I think this is harder to assimilate than just being a servant. I can hide pride in a servant’s persona. It is harder to hide real care for others, especially secret care, non-exposed care for another. Note: We all like the “atta-boys”. And face it, atta-boys are needed, keeps us from sin (c. Heb 3:12-13), but let the Holy Spirit bring these things to light, don’t shine the “self-light” on ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, I am much more aware of my arrogance than I am of my humility. I am learning to differentiate what the world defines as humility and what you define humility as. Make me like You. I surrender.
Bonus round: “…did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…” This is a direct reference to Lucifer, and a basic definition of Sin, and found:
- In his Fall (Is 14:12-14 … I will make myself like the Most High… (v. 14))
- In Eden when the serpent tempted Adam (Genesis 3:5-6…and you will be like God, knowing good and evil… (v.5))
- In the Wilderness with Jesus (Matt 4:1-9…and he (Lucifer) said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me…’ (v.9))
What is the root of these? Independence of God and self-determination (to put a modern title on it). Satan wanted to be independent of God or at least considered equal. We call it Original Sin.
Just like Adam, just like us.