October/November 2016 - Vol. 88

 Jesus washing feet of a
                            disciple - photo by Don Schwager
Living in the Crucible of Humility
by Tom Caballes

Christ Jesus…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, 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.
- Philippians 2:6-8
According to C.S. Lewis, a British novelist, academic, and lay Christian apologist, “the essential vice and the utmost evil is pride. All other vices are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through pride the devil became the devil. Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind.” On the other hand, humility is perfectly personified in Jesus. He was in the form of God, and He gave all that up – for you and me. The Being who existed before the world began became a servant and suffered one of the most humiliating ways to die. Imagine you transforming to become a disgusting cockroach to save all the other filthy cockroaches in the world! If Jesus lived in the crucible of humility, what else does He expect from us as His followers?

So How Do You Live in the Crucible of Humility?

  1. Realise that everything comes from God – all our riches, brains, talents – everything. There is no real reason to be proud of anything because there isn’t anything we can give credit out of our own doing alone.
  2. Let God lift you up – not yourself or other people. Vain-glory or feeling superior to others is a personal attempt to validate yourself – for nothing. So what if you are prettier, richer, or more famous than others? At the end of the day, God’s approval is the only one that counts. So seek God’s approval, not of people’s.
  3. Stop comparing yourself with others. Comparing is a useless exercise because everything comes from God. God has blessed each and every one of us in different ways. Count your blessings and be thankful.
  4. Be happy for others’ success and victories – do not be envious and develop self-pity. Acknowledge that God is the one who blesses people with all sorts of blessings. “What about me?” you may ask - In due time, God will reward you – either in this life or in the one to come!
  5. It is okay to experience being humbled at times – losing games, not being chosen or promoted, not being acknowledged or something similar. These situations will test our hearts whether we are after people’s approval or God’s approval. It is also good to keep our pride in check at times.
  6. Grow in obedience to God’s will. Life will not always be easy or convenient – but you need to know His will for you and follow it. Jesus obeyed the Father that led to suffering and death – so should we.
  7. Know how much God loves you. At the end of the day, when you realise how much God loves you, all self-love and pride will shrink in due time. Let your appreciation for God and what He has done grow daily in your heart. After all, pride is the supreme love of self; if you love God to the brim in response to His love, there is no place for the love of self. So be consumed by the love of God – and also loving God in return
Other Scripture passages:
  1. The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honour and life. [Proverbs 22:4 ESV]
  2. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [Matthew 11:29-30 ESV]
  3. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…[1 Peter 5:6 ESV]
  4. Other References: Proverbs 11:2; James 4:10
For personal reflection or group sharing
  1. How often do you struggle with pride? How do you keep your pride in its place?
  2. How have you grown in humility since you said your yes to God?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

"Washing one another's feet" photo illustration by Don Schwager
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