John in 1 John chapter 2 addresses three degrees of Christian growth for all believers.
Humility is for spiritual children, young men, and fathers. The goal is to mature to the level of a father or parent. In Philippians 3, Paul spoke of a level of maturity to which Christians should strive. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (verses 10-11).
God is seeking Christians who are pursuing a level of spiritual maturity that reveals wisdom and understanding of who Jesus is and who live out aspects of His character as much as humanly possible. As was discussed last month, moral courage and authority falter if we are not pursuing to intimately know Jesus deeper each day. John calls some Christians “fathers” because they know Jesus. Our number priority as believers is to intimately know and gain in spiritual understanding of Jesus. Everything else on earth is impacted by that priority.
How Can You Grow in Humility?
To become a better individual, spouse, parent, employee, boss, student or whoever is dependent on that priority. You can read all the self-help books and attend all the self-development seminars there are in the world and if you are not actively pursuing knowing Jesus, you will fall short of your goal. Heart knowledge (and definitely not just head knowledge) and understanding of the Word of God, interacting constantly with the Spirit and actively seeking a humble attitude (which allows you to be a servant to anyone you come into contact with) leads to intimacy with Jesus.
Learning all the WILD material is simply knowledge unless it leads you to intimacy with Jesus. A growing, spiritual leader results in a growing intimacy with Jesus. That intimacy develops as you and I obey Jesus; as we learn and understand the Word of God more deeply, opportunities to obediently live out what we learn come about.
What Does Moral Courage Really Mean?
The world has seen many courageous leaders but the world has not seen as many moral courageous leaders. Being moral is based in the absolute truth of the Word which reveals the nature of God Himself. We all know there are more and more false teachers and “prophets” proclaiming whatever in our world today. The litmus test is how well do these false teachers as well as any of us know Jesus.
The level of moral courage and authority development separates great spiritual leaders from good spiritual leaders. Moral authority clearly separates false leaders from true leaders. My hunch is great moral courage leaders do not put themselves into such a category because their attitude is one of humility, following Proverbs 27:2, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips.”
Are You Maturing in Your Faith?
God desires to have an intimate relationship with all His children. He calls us to grow in our maturity to become parents or ”fathers” as John describes that degree of maturity. Parents are to guide and help develop the children that have been placed under their responsibility and influence. Finally, the questions beckon to be asked. “Do you have the humility to either become a parent or to strengthen your maturity to continue on at that level?” And “Who are you willing to parent, to help younger believers attain parenthood?”
YOUTH MINISTRY – BEING A HUMBLE PERSON
Compare these two personalities. From one, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” “Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.” “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” “At home, I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
From the other, “Whoever wants to be first must take the last place and be the servant of everyone else.” “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
Have you figured out who the two people are? The first is Muhammad Ali, considered by many the greatest boxer ever (or at least in late 1960 through 1970’s) and the second is Jesus. When you compare the quotes (Jesus’ come from Mark 9:33-37), what do they say about the two people? In reality, Muhammad Ali also said very positive things like, “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”. That is a quality statement. As he came to the end of his life, which ended in 2016, his heart was much more humble and he also suffered from a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
How Can You Learn to Be Humble?
Jesus was humble and the greatest man ever (and at the same time was God). He was also the most powerful person ever on earth. Two contrasting attitudes from two people who impacted masses of people. What does it mean to be humble? Can you be a competitive person and at the same time, be a humble person?
People may have the wrong understanding of humility. It does not mean that a person thinks that he/she is no good and others are better or you have to beg or grovel in front of others. In being humble you know who are in your relationship with Jesus and you are comfortable with who you are. You are free of pride and arrogance, being yourself in any situation you find yourself.
You can stand up for what is right and for your rights and have no problem putting other people first like Jesus did (Philippians 2:3-11). There is a sincere acknowledgment that you know that you cannot live life without God’s help because of how difficult life is, allowing God’s strength and power to resonate through you. Your talents and abilities are gifts from God and He deserves the credit for your accomplishments. Living life being gracious, loving and forgiving are attributes of your life (Ephesians 4:31-32). When it comes to sports and competition, you give it all but know you are no better than anyone else.
What Causes Pride?
It is not easy to be around egotistical, prideful people. False humility is when people “do not want to talk about themselves” but the focus ends up being on them. After a short while, all you want to do is get away from such people. Do not be a person no one wants to be around!
Being around a humble person is refreshing. Follow the advice of Proverbs 27:2. It says,“Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth – a stranger, not your own lips.” In other words, follow through on your responsibilities to the best of your abilities and then let others toot your horn! Work hard to show the nature and attributes of Jesus before others. Shine for Jesus.