This past weekend my pastor preached on what it looks like to be “the greatest.” The message developed around Mark 9:33–37, explained that greatness in God’s eyes — as perfectly embodied by Jesus — comes down to the traits of selflessness, service, and humility.
Humility – A Major Theme of Bible
Looking more into the topic of humility, I found that in the King James Version the word “humility” is referred to seven times. The words “humble” and “humbled” are referenced 56 times, and searching the Internet, I found more than 70 verses that refer to the topic. Obviously, given the weight He placed on humility, it is of great value to Him.
We Aren’t Naturally Humble
My pastor reminded us that we are “not wired” for humility. We are naturally inclined toward pride. I watch this regularly as my three boys constantly compete with each other over everything, even the smallest of mundane details like who has the best socks. None of us are different from the disciples arguing amongst themselves as to who was the greatest, even as Jesus walked directly with them.
Jesus Is the Ultimate Example of Humility
If anyone ever deserved importance and status, it certainly was the King of Kings. Yet Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, time and time again showing that His only interest was to serve and be in complete obedience to His Father. And since we know that Jesus never sinned, that also means that He not only resisted prideful actions, but prideful thoughts.
My mind can’t fathom how Jesus resisted demonstrating all the power that was His as He was persecuted. I don’t think I can get through an hour without thinking of what I want or how I will try to get it. Our Savior did it in the worst of circumstances, in the only true form of righteousness that ever existed on Earth, for His entire existence on Earth. But I’m encouraged by my Savior’s reminder that “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). If I set my mind on those instructions and keep guiding others in front of myself, I will walk more like Him.
To Find Jesus, Go Lower
It’s overwhelming how much competition there is in this world for elevation. It’s everywhere. In the Olympics and other competitions, we see that the highest platform is always for the top achiever. I want to see someone trying to go lower through humility. I want to go lower. I want to purposely set myself apart to find more lowly things to do. I want to hate applause (unless it’s directed at my Savior). I want to be the first to apologize, ask for forgiveness, submit to someone else, and let them go first. I want to go lower, because I know I’ll find Jesus there.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.