Jesus Christ, the most powerful man ever to walk on the face of the earth was also the most humble man who ever lived. His agenda was never to promote himself, but to please his Father by loving and serving others.
Jesus summarized his mission statement in these words: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
It is one thing to claim to be a servant, but it is another to be treated as one. Christ’s humility was evident in his perfect obedience to the authority and will of his Father. He “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8) and always sought to glorify the Father and not himself.
After exhorting the Philippians to lay aside their personal interests and focus on the needs of others, the apostle Paul tells us how to follow the example of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). From this beautiful passage we learn three things about our Lord that model for us the essence of true humility.
• First, Jesus didn’t selfishly cling to the outer expression of his divinity. Instead, he took the form of a servant. A humble leader doesn’t flaunt their position or power. Instead, they identify with the weakest member of the team.
• Second, Jesus demonstrated humility through obedience to God the Father. A humble leader doesn’t impose their will on God, but submits to God’s commands.
• Third, Jesus waited for his Father to lift him up. A humble leader doesn’t grab for power or position. They patiently wait for God to increase their influence.
Jesus’ incarnation was in itself a profound act of humility, let alone his death on a cross. He didn’t come as a king, but as a helpless infant.
After he began his ministry, he demonstrated humble service to others in the miracles he performed, as well as in his instruction to his disciples. Although he was perfectly God and perfectly human at the same time (John 1:14), he lived his life as a humble laborer.
As the perfect model for godly leadership, Jesus set the perfect example of humility. Because he knew who he was, He was secure enough to serve others (John 13:3-5).
In what way does your understanding of your identity relate to the issue of humility in your life?
Ask God to help you follow Jesus’ example as you seek to demonstrate the kind of humility that will cause others to see Jesus in you.
Drawn from articles in the NIV Leadership Bible.