Why Humility Looks Different in God and Us
God is humble, the most humble person in existence. He is also the greatest. So God’s humility, his accurate assessment, his self-importance in relation to everything else, is holy—its expression is unique to anyone else’s.
For example, since God is supreme in everything, including supremely satisfying to us, it’s not proud of him to declare it (Psalm 97:9). And since we always express our greatest enjoyments by praising them, it isn’t vain of God to command our praise. God’s humility and love in fact require him to exhort us to enjoy our deepest satisfaction as opposed to lesser ones.
For us, accurately assessing our self-importance as it relates to God and everything else will often be expressed differently from God, since we’re not God. If we commanded others to praise us, it would be the pinnacle of pride.
True humility pushes us to extremes. On one end there’s the glorious privilege of being an image-bearer of God, a reality we’ve hardly begun to understand. On the other end we have horribly sinned against God (Romans 3:23).
Attracted to Jesus
But God’s humility is not always expressed differently from ours, though we will never match his scope. There is one place where we clearly see the height of his glory in the depth of his magnificent humility, and when we really see it, it resonates in the deepest places of our psyches: in the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus.
[For] though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6–8)
There it is. That’s the humility that all but the most hardhearted among us find beautiful. This is the fundamental reason we are attracted to humble people, because we see in them the likeness of God in Christ.
God’s wonderful invitation to us through Paul is to “have this mind,” for in Christ it can be ours (Philippians 2:5). Today we can have this mind by repenting of any pride we are aware of, embracing an honest self-assessment of who we are, meditating on Philippians 2:1–11 and obeying what it says.