From Essential Provisions

by Jon Rhiddlehoover on

Devotionals 4 min read
Philippians 2:3–4

I choose to esteem others above myself.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

Jesus was the ultimate model of humility. He was born in a stable unfit for human birth. He responded to people with kindness and gracious mercy. Jesus countered culture with the message that whoever wanted to be great among others must be their servant. He even gave up his life for his enemies that they might experience the blessing of salvation. If any of us would desire to find a model of humility, we simply need to look at the Son of God.

Unfortunately, humility is not the natural disposition of man. Rather, humans seek to exalt themselves above all others. This self-idolatry is in all of us from the time we are born. The Bible tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). This verse reminds me that though I deserve his opposition, God chose to express generous, overflowing grace to me. He chose to save me, and in Christ to both humble me and make me humble.

As a redeemed child of God, I now have the power of Christ to be humble before God and others. This is why Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Pride is part of our old selves, and it must be rooted out by believers so they can experience shalom in their relationships with others. For a lack of humility is often in play when marriages break apart and churches split and friendships are broken.

Since humility is a distinguishing mark that helps us to shine the light of Christ in a world fueled by self-exaltation, let me suggest a few principles that will guide you in your pursuit of this significant virtue.

Humility and the Word
The goal of humility must begin with a right perspective of God, especially as it relates to the authority of his revealed Word. My pastor has led me to ask a critical question: “When I read Scripture, who will be King?” If the Bible says something that I disagree with, what do I do with that? Who wins in my thoughts about the issues of my day—what I believe or what Scripture says? Submitting to God’s wisdom and ways is the first step in developing humility before others.

Humility and Prayer
How well do you listen when you pray? An article I read a few years ago shared that there is nothing more annoying than being in a conversation where the other person is dying to get all their words in, leaving you to feel like you are in a one-sided chat. Consider this concept when you pray. Do you sit in silence when you pray and allow the Lord to direct your heart and thoughts? Are you distracted by busyness, stress, or pain? Use
Scripture in your prayers to reorient yourself to a humble disposition, allowing the Lord to minister to your heart.

Humility and Worship
How much gratitude do you express in your worship? A worship leader once shared that the way you worship is evidence of the gratitude that you have in the Lord. When you assign all credit of goodness and blessing in your life to the Lord, then humble worship will flow from your heart. “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory“ (Psalm 115:1). True humility leads to a contentment because you recognize that the Lord gives you all you need in life, and satisfaction will come when you finally stand before the Lord and are allowed entrance into the eternal kingdom.

Father, I desire nothing more than to honor you with my life. Help me to become more like Jesus every day by seeking to be humble. Give me humility to keep you King in my life each day. Help me to be humble as I engage with others in my home, my community, and the world around me. Thank you for your grace that saved me and the gift of the Holy Spirit that guides me and strengthens me to express the fruit of humility. To you, O Lord, be the glory and honor and praise. Amen.

About the Author

Jon Rhiddlehoover (MA in Christian Education, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Lead Community Pastor at Central Bible Church and Executive Director of the Central Storehouse food pantry.