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True Humility
What does true humility mean? Our church recently celebrated Communion, and this time God particularly impressed me with the significance of the Ordinance of Humility, or foot washing. If you don’t know the story, you’ll find it in John 13. Accounts of the Lord’s Supper are found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.

Jesus and the disciples had gathered to eat the Passover supper together for the last time. He had told them that He would suffer and die, but somehow the disciples couldn’t get passed their own selfish ambitions. They each hoped to be the greatest in the earthly kingdom they still believed Jesus would soon set up. Meanwhile, the water, basin, and towel for the customary washing of the guests’ feet sat untouched. In the absence of a servant to do the dirty work, not one of the proud and bickering disciples would lower himself to serve the others. Knowing they desperately needed one last lesson in humility, Jesus quietly began washing their feet.

I began examining myself. I thought I was humble because I didn’t mind doing the dirty work once in a while. You know, serving at church, volunteering from time to time, things like that. I thought I earned “humble points” by sometimes going out of my way to serve, even at my own inconvenience. I knew I was humble because I rarely bragged (at least not out loud).

Socially Acceptable Pride

As I prayed about it, I discovered I was wrong. Those things were a good start, but Jesus calls me to a much deeper humility in areas that I might not initially recognize as pride.

True humility does not secretly relish a favorable comparison to others. Remember Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not a sinner like the tax collector? (Luke 18:9-14).

True humility does not require the last word in an argument. Jesus didn’t. During His trial, he made no reply—not even to a single charge—when accused by the chief priests and elders (Matthew 27:12-14).

True humility does not roll its eyes and feel put upon when inconvenienced, slighted, or even insulted. Instead, it turns the other cheek and goes the extra mile as Jesus recommended in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-42).

True humility never fixates on personal accomplishments, appearance, or possessions—not even in the privacy of your own mind. It focuses outward toward others and upward toward God. After all, the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31). Both are nearly impossible if you can’t see past yourself.

I challenge you to pray for humility and ask God to show you even the “socially acceptable” pride that lurks in your heart.

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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