Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (KJV).
Humility means to bring low, and it begins with denying the self the right to insert itself and ceasing from demanding to have one’s own way. It takes on the persona of a servant who gladly serves others for their sakes and ultimately for the Lord’s sake. Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a Man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (KJV). Humility does not seek a reputation, but those who seek to be recognized as humble are in fact seeking to have one. It goes along with the joke, “I take pride in my humility.” At the same time, humility does not deny one’s identity, nor does it pretend to be someone different. That means if a person tries to make himself less than he really is, that would be self-denial. It is not humility to say we are less than what God says we are. Worse still is when a person puts himself down because of a negative belief system. It shows a dim view of God since He makes people wonderful because He is wonderful. Everything He does reflects His nature. Humility does not seek to exalt itself; therefore, it would be false humility to “humble” oneself as a means to gain a higher position, as if humility is some sort of “spiritual tool.” That would be the opposite of “Deny himself.” It would be hypocrisy to pretend to be humble, when a person is pride-filled and desires to look the part. Self-exaltation strikes again! James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up (KJV).
Just like faith, humility requires love because it is outward focused (see Galatians 5:6). Since it gladly does things to benefit others, it takes joy in pleasing God. Humility surrenders the will to God and embraces His desires. Therefore, those who truly humble themselves before the Lord will wait on the Lord for promotion. Furthermore, they will allow God to decide what the promotion will be. They will not insert their idea of how they should be promoted. That means, they will not only allow God to define the promotion, but they will yield to the way He promotes them. The humble leave the method of promotion to the Lord. They will do nothing to bring it to pass by using their own means, especially if it employs manipulation. Humility walks by faith, which means the humble will wait on the proceeding Word of God before they make a move (see Romans 10:17). Just as Jesus waited on the Father and did what He saw Him do, as well as speak what He heard Him say (see John 5:19; 8:28-29; 12:49). We simply join in the process of promotion through obedience.
Would you gladly serve others, even if they got a promotion and you did not? Could you help another come into his or her position without expecting a favor in return? Could you do it without taking the credit for it, and would you rejoice for him or her? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may have some heart issues to contend with. A true servant of God will serve others well, and leave the rewards to Jesus. If we do things for others for personal gain, we are mere hired hands who have no interest in the Kingdom of God. Even as an employee, a servant will serve for reasons beyond the paycheck. He or she will do the work as unto the Lord, and influence his or her place of employment for the Kingdom as a result. In turn, it creates an environment more suited for the salvation of others who may be future heirs. If we do things strictly for our benefit, our actions will lack the love necessary to influence others for the Lord’s sake.
Humility will always recognize its Source, which means every time the Lord gives us a victory in any given area, we should find ourselves taking a deeper posture of humility. We cannot afford to take on an attitude that looks down on others when they are struggling in their circumstances. When we are on the pinnacle of a mountain experience, it is easy to lose sight of the struggle to get there. The temptation is to brag about walking by faith as if there was no negativity in the experience. “Though-ah I walked through the shadow of death-ah, I walked by faith-ah!” Lets get real shall we? There was a lot of shaking in the boots going on in that there valley. It was the faith of Jesus that got us through. The greater the victory, the greater the humility, because of the recognition it was God all along! When a brother or sister is struggling, we ought to come along side of them and encourage them; not look at them as if they have some sort of problem. Our yearning desire should be that they find God in the midst of the fire and experience the victory that only He can give. For us, it means that our confidence in the Lord Who dwells in us grows exponentially with every triumph, and a greater capacity to encourage another. With every opposition, comes an opportunity to glorify God. Conquest begins with humility. The quicker we acknowledge our lack of ability to overcome, the quicker He overcomes through us and with us. In the end, we will all lay our crowns before the feet of Jesus.