So this is an issue that crops up fairly regularly around me at the moment. I can’t quite get my head around it as the two seem to me to have such different and opposing definitions. It seems that some people find the idea of modesty to the extent of humbling oneself intolerable and see it as either a self-imposed or conditioned “slavery”.
Have you got any thoughts on this? Any Biblical or other views? And how would you respond to such a statement?
Perhaps my understanding is wrong, and I’m not altogether certain if I’ve phrased the question well, but please bear with me…
Thank you all in advance for your insights
@MoveMountains Some people think that being humble is the same thing as being a ‘pushover’ or a ‘doormat’ - that humbling yourself before others means being a slave to other peoples’ wants and wishes. However, if Jesus is our example of humility, that could not be further from the truth. Jesus spoke boldly against the religious authorities who took advantage of their positions of power and He cleared out the money changers from the temple who were turning a house of prayer into a market place.
In Christ, I think of humility as:
- putting God’s Kingdom first - before our own wants / needs - trusting that God will provide for us (Mt 6:33). Notice that this does not mean that we are not provided for - it is not self-deprecating - we are putting God first because we trust He will take care of us and we are seeking eternal treasure rather than earthly treasure. Even if obeying God means death, we believe that we, like Christ, will rise from the dead and live with Him forever.
- loving others sacrificially - this does not mean being a doormat - in fact, sometimes it means telling people truth that his hard to hear and taking a stand for the rights of the oppressed (like MLK Jr.).
Humility is sacrificial love motivated by absolute trust in the goodness of God and a personal experience of the grace of Jesus.
I think one thing people struggle with regarding Jesus’ commands to sacrifice our lives and put others before ourselves is that they do not truly grasp that God’s Kingdom extends beyond this life. Yes, we lay down our lives for others while on earth, but we know that God will provide for us an inheritance in Heaven that no one can take or steal.
In fact, we are to live so sacrificially in this life that if the resurrection were not a reality, we should be ‘pitied’ - as Paul says in 1 Cor 15.
I Cor 15:19 - If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But praise God that Christ has risen! And we can humbly submit ourselves to God and sacrificially love others, even our enemies, knowing that one day Christ will reign and we with Him.
Article from John Piper
- Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Christ.
- Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got
- Humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or with triumphs in debate, but as service to Christ and love to the adversary.
- Humility knows it is dependent on grace
- Humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and learns from it.
@MoveMountains. May I add? Often what looks like slavish or passivity in our response is not understood, because the Mercy and Grace of GOD is not understood. Is GOD a slave because He is patient of our frailty? Is GOD a ‘push-over’ because He allows us to continue in our arrogance, in our sin? Does the Earth shine as a prime example of GOD’s agape love; or does it mean GOD opts for conditional slavery? That’s easy, GOD is GOD is GOD. So if GOD is patient with His creation, why wouldn’t the people of GOD be like minded. Psalms 103:13.
What is seen as slave-like is in fact, the act of allowing the mind of CHRIST to dwell in us. That does not mean Christians do not struggle against the urge to smack somebody or worse. It means that there is a vested interest in living with love and honor in the presence of All Mighty GOD. What may appear as passivity or conditional slavery is the shadow cast by our relationship with JESUS. It is how it looks when you trust GOD.
It is what it looks like to turn the other cheek. Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:26-38. That is what knowing that the battle is not ours, but its the Lord’s resembles. 2 Chronicles 20:15, 1 Samuel 17:47. That’s what knowing that we wrestle not against flesh and blood looks like. Ephesians 6:12-18. It is what knowing that our weapons of warfare are not carnal looks like. 2 Corinthians 10:3&4. Most importantly it is what knowing that vengeance belongs to GOD looks like. Romans 12:14-19 and 2 Peter 2:3-9.
I trust GOD to deal effectively, lovingly, and decisively with His own children. I am one of His as well. Mess with me if you want to, GOD has it covered. 1 Chronicles 16:20-22 and again Romans 12:19.
Hallo @cer7, Thanks for your insights and response
You have a really nice viewpoint and way of approaching this issue, thanks for helping me see it from a different angle.
Yeass, love this;
Thanks, @SeanO for your insights too, they are very thought-provoking and the article very good, well written… Since reading it I also came across Micheal Ramsden’s message on Let My People Think; Is Christianity Arrogant? which was similar in many respects and also a good resource :)…
God Bless and Keep you,
Jo D x