These days I reflect on humility and sacrifice. These two words keep coming to me, humility and sacrifice. Partly because we’re doing our Philippians study and we know that humility is a very important virtue for Christians.
What It Means to be Humble
What does it mean to be humble? There’s a lot of distorted images about being humble, so today I’d like to think together with you what it means to be humble. People misunderstand humility. It is not necessarily self pity. What does humility look like? It is hard to talk about humility in a concrete way because we now question what it looks like when it is in our daily lives. What do humble people look like? Sometimes it’s not quite clear. Also, humility is not a quality that modern society values very highly.
Modern society does not look at humility as a very important quality for their lives. They see no useful value in humility. I mean, humility is okay in interpersonal relationships, but how does that make my personal life happy and meaningful? Does humility do anything for that? Confidence? Yeah, we can see confidence is very important. Confidence is more important than humility they say. Being capable? If you are capable in doing things then you can be happy, you can do a lot of things very well. So being capable is more important than humility. Being admired by people? You know, people love you and people admire you, people adore you. That boosts my self esteem, that is really good, so being admired is more important than humility. Being humble? That is a sign of weakness and admitting that we are weak is not necessarily an easy thing to do for modern people. We want to be strong. Modern society recognizes the value of strength. You have to be strong rather than being weak. Humility is a sign of weakness so I don’t want to be humble.
We have to ask, is humility or being humble, a sign of failure? Is humility, a trait of weak people? Is humility a natural result of being defeated? “You’re not as popular as other people so you have no choice but to be humble. You’re not as successful as others so you have no choice but to be humble.” Humility is the natural result of being inferior, being defeated, failing?
Jesus Was Not Made Humble
When I read Jesus’ life, we know that Jesus is humble and Paul said that Jesus is very humble, but I don’t see that kind of weakness in Jesus’ life. I don’t think Jesus was humble because he failed. To Jesus, humility was not a sign of failure. I don’t think Jesus became humble because he was crucified on the cross. ” A humiliating death made him humble.” I don’t think so. It’s not that Jesus failed everything in life and had no choice but to be crucified, and as a result he became humble. I don’t think that’s what we believe about Jesus. Jesus was not made humble. Jesus chose to be humble. Jesus was not made humble. Jesus chose to be humble. Jesus chose to take the cross and Jesus chose to empty himself and Jesus chose to become a servant. That was his choice.
Why? Because that’s what big people do. Being humble, that’s what big people do. People who see bigger things in life can be humble. Jesus was so big that he didn’t have to boast about himself. He had everything so he didn’t have to boast about whatever he had. He didn’t have to prove himself to the world. Jesus clearly knew who he was, he was the son of God. He didn’t have to prove or show to the world who he was. To Jesus, humility was not a sign of failure or defeat, but a sign of greatness. Jesus knew himself very well.
Jesus Lived As He Was
A lot of us depend on other people to tell me who I am. If they love me I must be lovable. If they admire me I must be admirable. They all praise me, I must be good at whatever I do. We always depend on other people to prove who we are or to know who we are. Jesus did not have to depend on other people to tell him who he was. He knew who he was and he simply lived as he was. That’s humility. Jesus knew who he was and he simply lived as he was. He didn’t live to inspire other people, or to really show other people who he was. He just simply lived as he was. He didn’t have this distorted sense of ego. He didn’t have to hide his weaknesses with his bloated ego. We do that all the time. When we have insecurity, when we have inferiority within us, we try to cover it with this bloated sense of ego, but Jesus didn’t do that. He didn’t seek for people’s approval either. That’s why he was hated. He didn’t seek for people’s approval. He was free from that. He was very comfortable with himself and lived comfortably as he was.
Humility is the Power to be Yourself
I realized, humility is the power to be yourself. Humility is the true power to be yourself. It is different from the power the world bestows upon us. It is the power that comes from within. It is not the power other people give me externally. It is the power that comes from within and that is when you know God, when you know his power, that power comes from within, and from that power you can be yourself. That is what humility is. True humility does not beg for the power the world gives because they already have enough power within themselves. True humility does not get sucked into power because it knows true power. True humility does not bow one’s head before the power of the world. That’s why Jesus was crucified. Because he did not bow his head to the power of the world. He could have sucked up to the power of Pilate and asked for salvation, “save my life.” Pilate saw all kinds of people. He crucified so many people so he knew how to scare them. Pilate approached with that power and he tried to scare Jesus. Jesus was not scared. Jesus was not threatened. And then Pilate asked, what kind of person are you? You are different from others. I could scare them! They were begging for their lives from me. You don’t do that. So Pilate asked Jesus, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have the power to release you and the power to crucify you, and you refuse to speak to me?” And this is what Jesus said. “You have no power over me unless it has been given to you from above.” Jesus saw different power. The power from above. Pilate said Jesus was innocent three times in the scripture. If you know that the person is innocent and you have the power to release, then he should have released Jesus, but ultimately, what does he do? He handed him over. He had no power to release Jesus. He didn’t even know that he had no power to do so. Jesus did not at all bow to the power of Pilate. He was strong. He was not afraid. That is what true humility looks like.
Humility that comes from being humbled, if you’re humble because of your situation, because of a failure, that humility can disappear very quickly when the situation disappears. But humility that comes from a clear sense of who he or she is will never disappear. Always the same. Just because you’re highly exalted, you will not become proud. Just because you’re humbled and crushed, you will not feel miserable, pitiful, and small. Only in humility we can live an authentic life. When we have humility, we will be able to live with confidence in all situations. We can stand tall in all situations. Nobody can make me small. We will not be shaken by how people treat us. In humility we can overcome our conflicts with ourselves and we can be truthful to ourselves and in the end, that is the way to be truthful to God.
As we are comfortable with ourselves we can be comfortable with others too. I wonder whether that is the way to be happy and meaningful. Humility I realized is an essential quality to live a happy and meaningful life. May god bless you with Jesus’ humility. Live confidently knowing that Jesus is with you and He called you, and God called you. You are my beloved child. That’s all that matters.