Jesus says that we should humble ourselves. He says that we should be like little children (who had no status or importance, at all, in his day). He says that we should be servants of each other. And Jesus doesn’t say these things once or twice, he says them over and over again. (I have listed some of the verses where Jesus talks about humility at the end of this article.)
Jesus says that we have one teacher and that we are all brothers (Matthew 23:8). The truth is that none of us are better than anyone else. All human beings make mistakes and get things wrong sometimes. We are human beings; therefore, we make mistakes and get things wrong sometimes and we will continue to do so. Being humble means acknowledging and affirming this truth.
So, what does it mean for us, 21st Century followers of Jesus, to be humble? What does being humble look like? Well, for a start, it means that we must stop behaving in many ways that our culture says we should behave, and start behaving in ways that our culture says we should not. We should stop promoting ourselves. We should stop pretending that we are better people than others. We should stop saying that members of our group (for example, those who share our religious or political views) are correct and that anyone who disagrees with us is incorrect.
This is obviously not going to be easy in our culture. How can we be humble and still get on in the world? If we are followers of Jesus, we should not be looking to get on in the world. We should be looking to serve in God’s Kingdom. There is nothing to fear. God is loving and gracious and will take care of us.
We may have the idea that someone who is humble will not be noticed. I would suggest that, in today’s culture, someone who is genuinely humble will be noticed. In fact they will really stand out.
One last thought. A person who is genuinely humble will be a great team player. Sensible bosses are always on the lookout for great team players.
Jesus is Lord.
Some verses in which Jesus teaches about humility and being like children and being servants: Matt 18:2-4; Matt 19:14; Matt 20:26-27; Matt 23:11-12; Mark 9:35; Mark 10:14-15; Mark 10:42-44; Luke 9:46-48; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14; Luke 18:17.
Some verses in which Jesus sets the example of humble service and explicitly states that he is doing so: Matt 11:29; Matt 20:28; Matt 21:5; Mark 10:45; John 13:3-15.