Some traits make anyone appear beautiful, but none is as beautiful as humility, which is a key ingredient in the Christian life.
Jesus began His discourse with the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit [the humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3). James wrote, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6).
The aorist command, “immediately humble yourselves,” means you must urgently decide to “make yourself a low priority in comparison to others.” There are several aspects of this command to understand.
First, humility comes from the sense of our unworthiness because of our sinful nature and actions. When Isaiah saw the holiness of God on the throne in Isaiah 6, he cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
Second, God tends to hear the prayers of the humble. The psalmist said, “You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear” (Psa 10:17). The Lord promised Solomon, “If My people . . . humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14).
Third, the promise is sure that “whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12).
Fourth, the core principle of the Christian life is a demonstrated love for each other, as in Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
The best definition of practical humility is when we consider other people a higher priority than ourselves. Just as we would quickly respond to a need requested by a president or a general, the humble person always responds to the needs of others around him. This is the opposite of competing with others to see who is the most important or acting out of selfish ambition.
Paul describes a humble person as one who “look[s] not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4). Focusing on yourself, therefore, is sin.
This is probably the most beautiful characteristic of our Savior: “Learn of me for I am gentle and lowly of heart” (Matt 21:5). How much can we learn from Jesus’s attitude toward others today?
“My Lord, Your word is so convicting to my pride. Help me value others more than myself.”