This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series, Get (Outta) Your Own Way
Our culture naturally rewards those who exalt themselves. Humility is not a celebrated trait in our world today. What we need t o see is that humility is the call of Christ and the better way to live.
1. Folly of Self-Exaltation
Self-exaltation is everywhere and happens at every age, from oldest to youngest. Yet the roots of self-exaltation go back all the way to the Garden of Eden and the fall of Adam and Eve. They were tempted to exalt themselves over God and gave in. Self-exaltation is perhaps the most anti-God of all sins. It’s a pursuit of empty-glory, a striving after the wind that only proves futile. Humility is a quality that few civilizations have ever treasured. Yet it is exactly what God calls us to in his letter to the Philippians.
2. Failure of False Humility
The problem with humility is how hard it is to identify. The moment we think we have it, we’ve lost it. False humility is evident when we can’t thank others for a compliment or doing something kind for us. CS Lewis reminds us, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” False humility also can’t thank God because it only wants to give credit to itself. It pursues excellence and ambition at the expense of serving and loving others.
3. Foundation of True Humility
Humility isn’t something you can work on. It’s annoying that that’s the case but it’s probably right. Humility requires you to look entirely away from yourself which is why it is so integral to the gospel. Paul breaks out in song in the middle of this passage in praise of Jesus’ humility. The road to glory for Christ only came by walking the path of the cross. For us to expect something different for ourselves is to exalt ourselves over God and make it about us.
Reflection & Application Questions
Do you ever feel like you’re “in your own way”? When something that could’ve been great for you doesn’t work out because of something you thought or did?
Are you ever tempted to exalt yourself? What kind of situations or contexts do you find this to be strongest?
Do you practice false humility? Are there ways in which you pretend to be humble but know you’re not? Why does CS Lewis’ quote above help address false humility?
In what ways have you found humility to be the hardest virtue to comprehend? What makes it so frustrating or difficult for you to understand and embrace humility?
Why does faith in the gospel naturally and necessarily lead us to humility? How does it help us grow in humility?