How to Serve in Humility
Who is the humblest person you know? We were presented with this question recently in Sunday School. I ‘spose I did have a name or two come to mind, but wow that was a tough one. What does a humble person look like anyway? What are their characteristics?
This is what I found at Dictionary.com –
- not proud or arrogant; modest:
- having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience,
- low in rank, importance, status, quality, lowly,
- courteously respectful,
Does this describe anyone you know? Probably not completely, but there is most likely someone you know that comes closer to it than others. The point of the question is to get us thinking. Not to focus on the one that comes to mind.
As we know, Jesus was the humblest person who has ever or ever will walk this earth. He was the perfect picture of a humble servant. See John 13:3-17 for the ultimate example of Jesus teaching us what serving in humility looks like.
How to be a humble servant
The first step to becoming a humble servant is to allow ourselves to be empty of self. Until we do that, we can’t be filled with Jesus.
For me a sure test of whether I’m emptied of self is how I interact with that one who just “rubs me the wrong way.” Not one of us is excluded from this frustration. We all have at least one person that just gets to us. Our personalities are just different. Or maybe even the same, ha! I fail at interacting with everyone with love and plain ole unconditional grace.
The struggle is real. It's painful. And it's in my face more often than I want it to be. It’s an internal tug of war. I want to be emptied of self. I want to be full of Christ, completely! But then I find myself face-to-face with frustration. With everything but grace coming from every fiber of my being. The struggle is definitely real for all of us.
Consider these verses about emptying yourself in order to be a humble servant
Being Humble starts with your attitude
Who [Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
Being humble involves denying yourself
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
recognize the difference between flesh and spirit
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Ephesians 5:12
We must train ourselves to recognize this war within between our fleshly desires and bend toward sin and Holy Spirit. They are complete opposites and we must be aware of it.
Being a humble servant requires a daily discipline
Emptying of self is not a one-time act. It’s like our garbage cans. You can’t just empty it one time. It has to be done regularly. If we don’t take care of it, it overflows and stinks! Same goes with us. We must be diligent in emptying the yuck and making room for the One who fills us with love, grace and a heart for people…all the different kinds of people!
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Being humble involves loving others as you love yourself
I suppose that would make the opposite true of that little test I spoke about previously. Would that mean when we’re empty of self we would be willing to wash the feet of that one who just “rubs us the wrong way?” Whew, Lord help me get there…empty of me and full of YOU.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18