Humility in our modern world is a much neglected quality. Yet for Christians it is a very necessary one. Consider this from St. Augustine the early church leader, " Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. " So here we see that no other virtue we seek is possible, until we first master humility.
Humility prepares us to learn from God, and his word. Think about what scripture says in Matthew 10:24 “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.” Human logic will not allow us to learn from someone that we believe knows less than we do. Such a person will have no creditability with us. So our humility actually allows God's creditability to grow, which increases our ability to learn from him.
Humility is evidence that we have learned from God himself. John Newton who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace put it like this, " I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master."
We are called to be humble because Jesus was humble, and we are called to be Christ like. We see this in John 5:30, “ I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Humility then is part of what links us to God's will in our lives. How could we submit to Christ, or grow to be more like Christ unless we have the humility to submit to the source of his authority.
Humility is what leads us to greatness in God's kingdom. Christ himself had this to say on the topic, “ An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” Luke 9:46-48 The author C. S. Lewis also taught about how humility illustrates our true status when he wrote “ "A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."
Humility also has the effect of authenticating our faith, and making it plain for those around us to see. Andrew Murray said it this way, " The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God's holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest."
Humility prepares us to be servant leaders. We see this first in Mark 9:35 “ And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” The same idea is also found in Matthew 23:11-12 “ But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. “ Even in the secular world it is often said that you cannot be a great leader, unless you can be a great follower. So if we desire success in this world or more importantly the next we must first seek to be humble.
It would seem that our modern world frowns on the idea of humility. Yet as we have seen it can be one of the most important virtues of a true Christian. As Christians our most important goal should be to become more Christ-Like. However we can never attain this goal to any large degree without first allowing ourselves to become humble.
Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield is editor of FaithInspires.Org, and pastor of Compassion Church of Katy (Texas.) He formerly served as Chaplain-General of the Order of St. Isidore of Seville, and chaplain of the Katy Fire and EMS Department. His work has also appeared at SelfGrowth.com, and Katy Christian Magazine among other places.