Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
"Show me a hundred stuck up folks and I'll show you a hundred fools" is a line from a song by the legendary country duo, The Louvin Brothers. Sometimes it seems that humility is an old fashioned and dated virtue, especially with the rise of mass entertainment and celebrity culture. We are inundated with countless people self-servingly and shamelessly seeking fame for the sake of fame alone. Their agenda is to advance themselves regardless of the lives they destroy, or the pain and embarrassment they inflict on others. Too often this lifestyle is celebrated and cheered by our culture.
It is often the saddest affair when a lack of humility infects churches, the very place meant to offer a transforming message to the world. Pride is not only the greatest purveyor of church divisions, but that is true too for divisions among family and other relationships. The Gospels always offers a radical alternative to the destruction and desires of man. Christ himself said, "The greatest among you will be your servant."
Humility doesn't just show class and a level of security about one's self, but it is also evidence of an authentic relationship with God. 1 Peter 5:5 says "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." People who have been transformed by grace understand the value of humility. They received a free gift and know it is through no merit or toiling of their own. Their deep dependence on God is evident in how they behave and especially by how they treat others.
The character and servanthood of Christ is the perfect model of humility. The possessor and creator of all creation chose a life of poverty. He was born in a stable among animals and their waste. Christ was not tempted by worldly glory and fame. He reached out and loved the despised, crippled, the sickest, and most marginalized. He was broken, beaten, bloodied, rejected, spit upon and nailed to a cross. Isaiah called him "A man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering." Christ was even betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
God, of course, was faithful to his plan to save humanity and Christ was exalted. The world did not understand and much of the world still does not understand because that is not how a king is supposed to live and die. It's abhorrent to a "me first" society, who finds their worth in material goods and seeks applause from men. Christ says in Matthew, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Psalm 138:6 says, "Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar." Another reminder to us to heed the notable saying: "Don't sell your soul for one bowl of pottage."