If you are looking for an example of humility, look at the cross.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.
No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. Through all its existence it can only live by the life that was in the seed that gave it being. The full apprehension of this truth in its application to the first and the Second Adam cannot but help us to understand both the need and the nature of the redemption that is in Jesus.
When the Old Serpent, who had been cast out of Heaven for his pride, whose whole nature was pride, spoke temptation into Eve’s ear, those words carried with them the very poison of hell. And when she listened, and yielded her desire and her will to the prospect of being like God, knowing good and evil, the poison entered into her soul, destroying forever that blessed humility and dependence upon God that would have been our everlasting inheritance and happiness. Her life and all its selfishness and suffering, all its vain ambitions and jealousies, all its broken hearts and embittered lives, with all its daily unhappiness, have their origin in what this cursed pride – our own or that of others – has brought upon us. It is pride that made redemption necessary; it is from our pride that we need, above everything else, to be redeemed. And our insight into the need of redemption will largely depend upon our knowledge of the terrible nature of the power of pride that has entered our being.
As we have said, no tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. The pride that Satan brought from hell and whispered into the life of humankind is working daily, hourly, and with mighty power throughout the world. Men and women suffer from it; they fear and fight and flee it; and yet they don’t always know where it has come from or how it has gained such terrible supremacy. No wonder they don’t know how to overcome it. Pride has its root and strength in a spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us; as needful as it is that we confess and deplore it, it is Satanic in origin. If this leads us to utter despair of ever conquering or casting it out, it will lead us all the sooner to that supernatural power I which alone our deliverance is to be found – the redemption of the Lamb of God. The hopeless struggle against the workings of self and pride within us may indeed become still more hopeless as we think of the power of darkness behind it; the utter despair will fit us better for realizing and accepting a power and a life outside of ourselves, the humility of Heaven brought down by the Lamb of God to cast our Satan and his pride.
Even as we need to look to the first Adam and his failure to know the power of sin within us, we need to know the Second Adam and his power to give us the life of pride. We have our life from and in Christ even more certainly than from and in Adam. We are to walk “rooted in him, holding fast the head from whom the whole body increases with the increase of God.” The life of God that entered human nature through the Incarnation, is the root in which we are to stand and grow; it is the same almighty power that worked there, at the cross, and onward to the Resurrection, which works daily in us. It is of utmost importance that we study to know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours, and waits for our consent to gain possession and mastery of our whole being.
In view of this, it is important that we know who Christ is, especially the chief characteristic that is the root and essence of his character as our redeemer. There can be but one answer: it is his humility. What is the Incarnation but his Heavenly humility, his emptying himself and becoming man? What is his life on Earth but humility; his taking the form of a servant? And what is his atonement but humility? “He humbled himself and became obedient to death.” And what is his ascension and his glory but humility exalted to the throne and crowned with glory? “He humbled himself, therefore God exalted him to the highest place,” In Heaven, where he was one with the Father; in his birth, his life, and his death on Earth; in his return to the right hand of the Father – it is all humility. Christ is the expression of the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us. As the love and condescension of God makes him the benefactor and helper and servant of all, so Jesus of necessity was the Incarnate Humility. And so he is still, in the midst of the throne, the meek and lowly Lamb of God.
If this is the root of the tree, its nature must be seen in every branch and leaf and fruit. If humility is the first, the all-inclusive grace of the life of Jesus – if humility is the secret of his atonement – then the health and strength of our spiritual life will depend entirely upon our putting this grace first and making humility the chief quality we admire in him, the chief attribute we ask of him, the one thing for which we sacrifice all else.
Is it any wonder that the Christian life is so often weak and fruitless, when the very root of the Christian life is neglected or unknown? Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is so little felt, when that by which Christ brings it is so seldom sought? Until a humility that rests in nothing less than the end and death of self, and which gives us all the honor of men as Jesus did to seek the honor that comes from God alone (which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing) that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted – until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a faith that will conquer the world.
I cannot too greatly impress upon my readers the need of realizing the lack there is today of humility within Christian circles. There is so little of the meek and lowly Lamb of God in those who are called by his name. Let us consider how our lack of love, indifference to the needs and feelings of others, even sharp comments and hasty judgments that are often excused as being honest and straightforward, are thwarting the effect of the influence of the Holy Spirit on others. Manifestations of temper and touchiness and irritation, feelings of bitterness and estrangement, have their root in nothing but pride. Pride creeps in almost everywhere, and the assemblies of the saints are not exceptions. Let’s ask ourselves what would be the effect if all of us were guided by the humility of Jesus, that the cry of our whole heart, night and day, would be, “Oh, for the humility of Jesus in myself and all around me!” Let us honestly fix our heart on our lack of humility – that which has been revealed in the likeness of Christ’s life, in the whole character of his redemption – and realize how little we know of Christ and his salvation.
Study the humility of Jesus. This is the secret, the hidden root of redemption. Believe with your whole heart that Christ, whom God has given you, will enter in to dwell and work within you and make you what the Father would have you to be.