I once had a brief conversation with an “up and coming” musician (“up and coming” is probably an overstatement) who went by an obvious pseudonym. When I asked him what his name was, he insisted that I continue to refer to him by his pseudonym. An important detail to note is that the pseudonym he was apparently very proud of actually contained a version of the word “humble” in it.
Oh, the irony.
My musical friend may not quite have known what humility looks like at ground level, but the apostle Paul certainly did and he writes about it in Philippians 2. According to Paul, humility looks like:
- Doing nothing from selfish ambition or conceit (v. 3)
- Counting others more significant than yourself (v. 3)
- Looking to the interests of others (v. 4)
- Working out your salvation with fear and trembling (v. 12)
- Doing all things without grumbling or complaining (v. 14)
- Being “poured out” for the sake of others (v. 17)
- Being concerned for the welfare of others (v. 20)
- Facing death for the work of Christ (v. 29)
Even more to the point, Paul didn’t write these words in a vacuum—he actually wrote them from a prison cell, which he inhabited because of his incessant preaching of the gospel. Paul genuinely considered others more significant than himself. Paul looked to their eternal interests over his own temporary comforts and conveniences. Paul was glad to pour himself empty in order to see others filled with the power and presence of Christ.
Paul didn’t just preach humility—he lived it. How? He was empowered by the Holy Spirit which enabled him to follow Christ’s example of laying down his life for others.
If you are a Christian, the same Holy Spirit resides in you right now, enabling you to lay aside your own comforts, conveniences, and interests for the benefit of others. Jesus did. Paul did. Will you?