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Imitating the Humility of Christ

by Mark Ottaway on February 3, 2017

The call to the believer is to be like Christ. Paul taught the Philippians that he pressed “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). This imitation of Christ is especially pronounced in His humility. Paul taught that Jesus had humbled Himself by submitting to the Father, becoming a servant, and being obedient, even to the point of death (Phil. 2:7-8). True humility is placing our total dependency upon God, understanding our entire unworthiness without Him. Christ demonstrated this humility throughout His life here on earth as He willingly washed the feet of the disciples, taught that it was necessary to be the least, praised the attitude of the humble sinner before God (Luke 18), rebuked the Pharisees for their pride, called those blessed who were the poor in spirit and meek, and ultimately went to the cross.

A humble spirit before the Father must also transition to a humble spirit before others. Andrew Murray stated, “It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God; [but] humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real; that humility has taken up its abode in us, and become our very nature; that we actually, like Christ, have made ourselves of no reputation” (Andrew Murray, Humility and Absolute Surrender 25). Christ humbled Himself, nobody humbled Him. We often might say that the Church needs to humble herself, yet it is the responsibility of each individual believer as we imitate Christ, to humble himself. Therefore with the help of the Holy Spirit, in my pursuit of Christlikeness, I need to endeavour to humble myself before Christ and before others. This is not about giftedness, but is about a personal commitment in becoming more and more like the Saviour we love.

Kenneth Boa teaches that a key element in humility is focussing on Christ. He said, “If we value the world first, we will miss out on not only the joys of knowing God but also the joys in this life” (Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image 47). Later he said the only way we get from prioritizing the world is through “... repentance and return to the pursuit of Christ in place of the pursuit of the world.” Christ came to this world as a man, and humbled Himself, and calls His followers to do the same.