Thursday, October 02, 2014

Humility, a most unnatural virtue

I was mulling on humility and thought of how unnatural it is for a human being to be humble. We are so tied to our own sense of esteem that any propensity to humility is either unheard of or is deemed fake.

Ortlund says in his Preaching the Word series on Isaiah, "The point is that our own brilliance and desire will be the death of us."

Oh how we need to be humble in all we are and all we do.

From my recent exchange with this one person, who exuded too much self-importance and judgement for me to handle, made me realise how much we need the humility of Christ, and to depend on His ultimate standards rather than on our own dismal and laughable human standards.

And yet humility is one tough virtue to have. I'm not sure we can even "practice" humility. Either you are humble or you are not.

I came across this blogpost by Maolsheachlann, who said, "the moral law [may be] inscribed on the human heart, but that is far from admitting that humankind is always or even usually successful at reading or following that law. And one virtue that is rare outside the ranks of Christians is humility--a studied, deliberate, principled humility...humility is the most "unnatural" of virtues, in a colloquial sense of the term "natural". When we look at pre-Christian societies, the unabashed boastfulness is perhaps the feature that offends us most of all. And in our increasingly post-Christian world, this seems to be returning." (source: Christian Humility)

I struggle a lot with humility and I always catch myself being too self-important. And when I find myself in that state, I will feel so bad and ashamed.

With my dealings with non-Christians who do not know the humility of Christ, I feel like it is a stark reminder to me that I am only feeling the way I am feeling because of the example of Christ. And how far from humility I will be without Christ.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:1-11)



  1. "Either you are humble or you are not."

    I love that Pearlie! So true. Most of us are simply too narcissistic.

    But then again, I think that it is possible to deny ourselves, pickup our cross and, over time, develop humility as we follow Jesus.

  2. Yea, good point there. We are indeed to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow him. That will be a decision we have to make and we have Christ as our model and Lord to imitate and follow.