True Humility in Jesus
June 15, 2021
In the process of becoming dental professionals, we have amassed a collection of academic and professional achievements under our belt. Along the way, we’ve probably been told how capable and talented we are and praised for our varied accomplishments.
Society would tell us to build ourselves up, to be awesome, to have a personal brand with which to sell ourselves. People are encouraged to “be someone,” to be proud of themselves. Although such an attitude breeds independence and self-reliance positively, in difficult times, we may struggle because we feel we have to go it alone. These highs of “being somebody” are countered by the lows of feeling as though we’re not enough when we are compared with others.
So, we try to be humble, perhaps even “humblebrag” about ourselves on social media. When faced with compliments, we may brush these off with contrived modesty or at times default to self-deprecating humor, in the process belittling ourselves and often others collaterally.
We are left with a sour taste on our mental palate. God clearly resists the proud (Proverbs 3:34), but the Bible also says in nothing shall we be put to shame (Philippians 1:20). Actually, per Tim Keller’s The Freedom of Forgetfulness, pride is our ego being puffed up or deflated. Either way, we are putting ourselves above everything and everyone else.
If there was anyone who could be justifiably proud, it was the Lord God of the universe incarnate in the man Jesus. Yet, He did not consider being equal to God a treasure to be grasped, but rather emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, humbling himself and being obedient unto death (Philippians 2:6).
What is true humility? Let us entertain a new paradigm: humility is neither self-exaltation nor self-chosen lowliness. Rather, humility is self-forgetfulness. Perhaps a truly humble person is one who resigns oneself to be nothing so that Jesus can be everything in his/her being. After all, the Lord says if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. In the words of C. S. Lewis, “When you talk to a truly gospel-humble person, you won’t walk away thinking they were humble, but that they were so interested in you.” Just as Jesus came to serve man in His humble way, so are we called to serve those around us.
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