Many people like to think of themselves as humble before God. However, the real measure of how humble we are is to answer the question how humble are we before other men and women? You don’t truly see your own pride and self-centeredness until you are forced to interact with people.
God chooses to communicate with us through his word (the Bible) and through people! He communicated through Moses, priests, the prophets, Jesus, the apostles, and everyday disciples in the church of Jesus Christ.
Read NUMBERS 12. How did God react to Aaron and Miriam’s decision to pridefully question Moses’ position before God? Why did he react this way?
Read NUMBERS 14:1-35. How does God respond to the people’s prideful rejection of Moses, Joshua, and Caleb? Did the people view themselves as complaining against God, or, in their minds were they simply complaining against people? Who did God view them as complaining against?
Read 1 SAMUEL 8:6-9. The people refuse to listen to Samuel. Who does God say they were truly rejecting?
Read LUKE 10:16. Jesus sends out 72 of his disciples to preach to the people. Who does Jesus say the people are ultimately listening to if they listen to his disciples? Who does Jesus say they are ultimately rejecting if they reject his disciples? What lesson should we learn from this?
Read EPHESIANS 5:21. What does it mean to “submit to one another”? What should be our motivation for submitting to one another? Who are we ultimately submitting to when we do this?
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 11:1. Paul says to follow him as he follows Christ. How would this require a willingness to be humble before men?
How should we respond when another, imperfect person approaches us to tell us something they see we could improve on, exhibits talents or strengths we don’t have, challenges us spiritually, attempts to teach us or help us in an area of life, etc.?
In order to learn and grow spiritually, we must be willing to be humble before men and women. Below are 3 keys to humbling ourselves before men.
1. Must Have a Conviction to Imitate Our Master’s Humility
As disciples of Jesus, we must imitate our master in every area! Jesus’ entire life on earth was a day-to-day exercise in humbling himself before men. (PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8)
What are some ways Jesus humbled himself before men? Why did he do this?
Read MATTHEW 26:53-54. Jesus had the power to call legions of angels to his defense, yet he chose to humble himself before men and allow himself to be arrested and eventually tortured and killed. What does this passage reveal about his reason for humbling himself before men?
Clearly, Jesus humbled himself before men because it was a necessary part of allowing God to fulfill his purpose through him. In what ways must we be prepared to humble ourselves before men in order for God to fulfill his purpose through us?
2. Must Recognize that Humility Before Men is a Crucial Part of God’s Plan
Read MATTHEW 28:18-20. This passage contains 3 direct commands and 1 implied command. What are the 3 direct commands?
Go (must be willing to go and make disciples)
Baptize (those who believe/want to follow Jesus begin their walk via baptism)
Teach (those who are baptized must be taught to obey Jesus)
What is the implied command? Disciples must be humble enough to learn from other people! Disciples must be taught to follow Jesus. Taught by who? Other imperfect people who are also following Jesus! We cannot grow and learn as disciples without the humility to let others teach us.
Consider the following people in the Bible. They were humble followers before they were great teachers:
Peter (learned from Jesus, fellow apostles, and from Paul [GALATIANS 2:11-14]
Paul (learned from Gamaliel, Ananias, Barnabas, the apostles)
Timothy and Titus (learned from Paul)
Joshua (learned from Moses)
Elisha (learned from Elijah)
3. Must Have the Humility to Pursue the Low Position
Read MATTHEW 18:1-4. What does it take to be great in the kingdom of God? How do you seek the “low position”? What does humbly taking the “low position” look like for you? What is the difference between humility to lower oneself versus low self-esteem?