By Karen Polich
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis
God chooses to use humble people. Those with humility are nothing more than servants for the cause of Christ. His purpose becomes our purpose. With humble hearts, we seek gentleness, want to serve and have compassion for others. Though we may step on ourselves with our actions and words, true humility shines through. The most humble to walk the earth was Jesus Christ.
“Pride and fruitfulness are incompatible.” – Michael M. Cook
Teaching from 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 Pastor Michael M. Cook continued the sermon series, Forming the Church We’re Called to Be, with Be Humble and Kind. (Listen to the podcast here.) Paul was speaking to the church in Corinth. With no word in the Roman and Grecian language for humility, the concept couldn’t have been an easy thing to teach. How can we be humble and kind? Avoid conceit and embrace humility. The passage distinguishes the characteristics we should avoid and those to embrace.
Characteristics to avoid, as demonstrated in the Corinthians’ conceit.:
1. Puffed up. The danger comes in feeling so good about what’s going on in our lives and who we are following (Christ) that it causes a critical attitude leading to judgement and self-righteousness.
2. Boastful. It doesn’t make spiritual sense to boast. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Corinthians 4:7
3. Full. Are we actually satisfied with where we are and think we have it all figured out? We are called to press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:4a
Characteristics to embrace, as Paul described of the apostles.:
1. Spectacle. In contrast, Paul described the apostles as servants placed on display for others to learn from. The crown only comes after the cross.
2. Fools. When we are focused more on Christ than ourselves, it doesn’t matter if we are thought of as fools. Our focus is simply on Him. There is not concern for what others think.
3. Filth. At times we will be seen as the scum of the earth. Speak the truth and watch how satan will try to make you feel. ‘You’re intolerant…’ No. The truth is the truth, but we may not be regarded well.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
Humility is the great unifier. We are not deserving of what Christ has done for us. If our focus is on others and squarely on the love of Jesus, we will have the ability to be humble and kind.
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be thankful. Conceit is self given. Be careful.” – John Wooden