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Humble (5011) (tapeinos) means low, not high, not rising far from the ground. It speaks of one's condition as lowly or of low degree. It described what was considered base, common, unfit, and having little value. It pictures one brought low, as for example by grief. Tapeinos is descriptive particularly of attitude and social positions. Tapeinos is used 8 times in the NAS and KJV (Matt. 11:29; Lk. 1:52; Ro. 12:16; 2Co. 7:6; 10:1; James. 1:9; 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5) and is translated: depressed, 1; humble, 5; lowly, 1; meek, 1. In the KJV tapeinos is translated: base, 1; cast down, 1; humble, 2; lowly, 1; of low degree, 2; of low estate, 1. There are 44 uses in the Septuagint - Lev. 13:3, 4,, 20, 21, 25, 26; 14:37; 27:8; Jos. 11:16; Jdg. 1:15; 1 Sam. 18:23; Esther 1:1; Job 5:11; 12:21; Ps. 10:18; 18:27; 34:18; 82:3; 102:17; 113:6; 138:6; Prov. 3:34; 11:2; 16:2; 30:14; Eccl. 10:6; Is 2:11; 11:4; 14:32; 25:4; 26:6; 32:7; 49:13; 54:11; 58:4; 66:2; Jer. 22:16; Ezek. 17:24; 21:26; 29:14; Amos 2:7; 8:6; Zeph. 2:3; 3:12 The best "definition" of tapeinos is found in the attitude of our Lord Jesus Christ Who declared... Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble (tapeinos) in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. (Mt 11:29) The other NT uses of tapeinos include... He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. (Luke 1:52) Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. (Ro 12:16 - note) Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-- I who am meek (tapeinos) when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! (2Cor 10:1) But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus (2Cor 7:6) But let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position (James 1:9-note) But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (Jas 4:6-note) The original sense of low lying soon gave rise to metaphorical uses, NIDNTT listing several... (a) low socially, poor, of little social position and influence (Hdt., 5th cent. B.C. onwards), powerless, unimportant; (b) as a result of one’s social standing, with slavish outlook, a synonym of not free; (c) despondent, downcast (Thuc., 5th cent. B.C. onwards; cf. Eng. “I’m feeling down”); (d) in Socratic and post-Socratic ethical teaching the word was separated from its social links, but retained a depreciatory connotation. Men should avoid the two extremes of arrogance, provocation and pride (hybris), and of grovelling, servile behaviour and base flattery. (e) Occasionally the word is used with a good connotation in individual, social, ethical and religious contexts. Where this is so, it does not mean humble, but unassuming (in Xen.), obedient, conforming one’s behaviour to the righteous laws of the gods (Aesch., Plato). In all these uses there remains the memory of the original physical meaning of below, low, in comparison with that which is above or higher. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan) Wuest writes that tapeinos... The word is found in an early secular document where it speaks of the Nile River in its low stage in the words, “It runs low.” The word means “not rising far from the ground.” It describes the Christian who follows in the humble and lowly steps of his Lord. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) Larry Richards has some excellent comments on tapeinos writing that... In Greek culture, tapeinos and its derivatives were words of contempt. The Greeks saw man as the measure of all things. Thus, to be low on the social scale, to know poverty, or to be socially powerless was seen as shameful. Only seldom in classical Greek do these words have a positive tone, commending an unassuming or obedient attitude. Scripture, however, sees the universe as measurable only against God. Compared to him, human beings are rightly viewed as humble. Thus in Scripture tapeinos and its derivatives are nearly always used in a positive sense (exceptions are in 2Co 10:1; Col 2:18-note, Col 2:23-note). Tapeinos represents a person's proper estimate of himself in relation to God and to others. In this sense, Jesus himself lived a humble life, depending completely on God and relating appropriately to all around him (Mt 11:29). It is the humble, Jesus says, whom God will exalt in his good time (Lk 14:11; 18:14). While the thought of the OT about humility infuses the NT, we learn more about humility in the Gospels and the Epistles. Mt 18:1-4 helps us see humility expressed in relationship with God. The disciples asked Jesus who was greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The text tells us that Jesus "called a little child and had him stand among them." Jesus then told them that unless they were to "change and become like little children" they would be unable to enter heaven's kingdom. He explained, "Whoever humbles (tapeinoo - from tapeinos) himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Just before this, Jesus had presented himself to Israel as God's Son and their promised Messiah. Israel refused to respond. But what of the child? When he was called, he came immediately, responding to Jesus' word. Humility in our relationship with God is seen when we refuse to stand in judgment on his Word but instead respond immediately, recognizing God as the ultimate authority in our life. The dependence and responsiveness of the child is to mark our attitude in our personal relationship with the Lord. The NT often exhorts humility in relationships with other believers (e.g., Eph 4:2). Paul gives the example of Jesus' humility (Php 2:5, 6, 7, 8) to encourage compliance with his exhortation: "In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil 2:3-4). This attitude is explored further in Ro 12:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. The introductory instruction goes like this: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Ro 12:3). That faith is to find expression within the body of Christ, as each member of the body uses his gifts to serve his fellows. Moved by a sincere love, each is told, "Honor one another above yourselves" (Ro 12:10), and "Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited" (Ro 12:16). It is in seeing others as persons of great worth because they are loved by God and in seeing ourselves as their servants that we find the fulfilling lifestyle of humility. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency) (Bolding added) Vincent writes that tapeinos The word has a history. In the classics it is used commonly in a bad and degrading sense, of meanness of condition, lowness of rank, and cringing abjectness and baseness of character. Still, even in classical Greek, this is not its universal usage. It is occasionally employed in a way which foreshadows its higher sense. Plato, for instance, says, “To that law (of God) he would be happy who holds fast, and follows it in all humility and order; but he who is lifted up with pride, or money, or honor, or beauty, who has a soul hot with folly, and youth, and insolence, and thinks that he has no need of a guide or ruler, but is able himself to be the guide of others, he, I say, is left deserted of God” (“Laws,” 716). And Aristotle says: “He who is worthy of small things, and deems himself so, is wise” (“Nich. Ethics,” iv., 3). At best, however, the classical conception is only modesty, absence of assumption. It is an element of wisdom and in no way opposed to self-righteousness (see Aristotle above). The word for the Christian virtue of humility (tapeinophrosune), was not used before the Christian era, and is distinctly an outgrowth of the Gospel. This virtue is based upon a correct estimate of our actual littleness, and is linked with a sense of sinfulness. True greatness is holiness. We are little because sinful. Compare Luke 18:14. It is asked how, in this view of the case, the word can be applied to himself by the sinless Lord? “The answer is,” says Archbishop Trench, “that for the sinner humility involves the confession of sin, inasmuch as it involves the confession of his true condition; while yet for the unfallen creature the grace itself as truly exists, involving for such the acknowledgment, not of sinfulness, which would be untrue, but of creatureliness, of absolute dependence, of having nothing, but receiving all things of God. And thus the grace of humility belongs to the highest angel before the throne, being as he is a creature, yea, even to the Lord of Glory himself. In his human nature he must be the pattern of all humility, of all creaturely dependence; and it is only as a man that Christ thus claims to be lowly; his human life was a constant living on the fulness of his Father’s love; he evermore, as man, took the place which beseemed the creature in the presence of its Creator” (“Synonyms,” p. 145). The Christian virtue regards man not only with reference to God, but to his fellow-man. In lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself (Phil 2:3, Rev.). But this is contrary to the Greek conception of justice or righteousness, which was simply “his own to each one.” It is noteworthy that neither the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, nor the New Testament recognize the ignoble classical sense of the word. (Greek Word Studies) Trench writing about tapeinos says that... “The work for which Christ’s gospel came into the world was no less than to put down the mighty from their seat, and to exalt the humble and meek. It was then only in accordance with this its mission that it should dethrone the heathen virtue megalopsuchia (human magnanimity and great souledness), and set up the despised Christian grace tap., in its room, stripping that of the honor it had unjustly assumed, delivering this from the dishonor which as unjustly had clung to it hitherto; and in this direction advancing so far that a Christian writer has called this last not merely a grace, but the casket or treasure house in which all other graces are contained … And indeed not the grace only, but the very word tap., is itself a fruit of the gospel; no Greek writer employed it before the Christian era, nor, apart from the influence of Christian writers, after.” (Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament) William Barclay writes that The Greek had an adjective for humble, which is closely connected with this noun—the adjective tapeinos. A word is always known by the company it keeps and this word keeps ignoble company. It is used in company with the Greek adjectives which mean slavish, ignoble, of no repute, cringing (which is the adjective which describes a plant which trails along the ground). In the days before Jesus humility was looked on as a cowering, cringing, servile, ignoble quality; and yet Christianity sets it in the very forefront of the virtues. Whence then comes this Christian humility, and what does it involve? (a) Christian humility comes from self-knowledge. Bernard said of it, “It is the virtue by which a man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness, in consequence of the truest knowledge of himself.” To face oneself is the most humiliating thing in the world. Most of us dramatize ourselves. Somewhere there is a story of a man who before he went to sleep at night dreamed his waking dreams. He would see himself as the hero of some thrilling rescue from the sea or from the flames; he would see himself as an orator holding a vast audience spell-bound; he would see himself walking to the wicket in a Test Match at Lord’s and scoring a century; he would see himself in some international football match dazzling the crowd with his skill; always he was the centre of the picture. Most of us are essentially like that. And true humility comes when we face ourselves and see our weakness, our selfishness, our failure in work and in personal relationships and in achievement. (b) Christian humility comes from setting life beside the life of Christ and in the light of the demands of God. God is perfection and to satisfy perfection is impossible. So long as we compare ourselves with second bests, we may come out of the comparison well. It is when we compare ourselves with perfection that we see our failure. A girl may think herself a very fine pianist until she hears one of the world’s outstanding performers. A man may think himself a good golfer until he sees one of the world’s masters in action. A man may think himself something of a scholar until he picks up one of the books of the great old scholars of encyclopedic knowledge. A man may think himself a fine preacher until he listens to one of the princes of the pulpit. Self-satisfaction depends on the standard with which we compare ourselves. If we compare ourselves with our neighbour, we may well emerge very satisfactorily from the comparison. But the Christian standard is Jesus Christ and the demands of God’s perfection—and against that standard there is no room for pride. (c) There is another way of putting this. R. C. Trench said that humility comes from the constant sense of our own creatureliness. We are in absolute dependence on God. As the hymn has it: “‘Tis Thou preservest me from death And dangers every hour; I cannot draw another breath Unless Thou give me power. My health, my friends, and parents dear To me by God are given; I have not any blessing here But what is sent from heaven.” We are creatures, and for the creature there can be nothing but humility in the presence of the creator. Christian humility is based on the sight of self, the vision of Christ, and the realization of God. (W. Barclay: The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians Westminster John Knox Press) J C Ryle writes that... that there is no grace which should distinguish the Christian so much as humility. He that would be great in the eyes of Christ, must aim at a totally different mark from that of the Pharisees. His aim must be, not so much to rule, as to serve the Church. Well says Baxter, "church greatness consists in being greatly serviceable." The desire of the Pharisee was to receive honor, and to be called "master." (Mt 23:2, 6,7) The desire of the Christian must be to do good, and to give himself, and all that he has to the service of others. Truly this is a high standard, but a lower one must never content us. The example of our blessed Lord, the direct command of the apostolic Epistles, both alike require us to be "clothed with humility." (1Pe 5:5.) Let us seek that blessed grace day by day. No grace is so beautiful, however much despised by the world. No grace is such an evidence of saving faith, and true conversion to God. No grace is so often commended by our Lord. Of all His sayings, hardly any is so often repeated as that which concludes the passage we have now read, "Whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Mt 23:12) (J. C. Ryle. Expository Thoughts - Matthew) The greatest saints of God in every age of the Church have always been men of John the Baptist's spirit. In gifts, and knowledge, and general character they have often differed widely. But in one respect they have always been alike--they have been "clothed with humility." (1 Pet. 5:5.) They have not sought their own honor. They have thought little of themselves. They have been ever willing to decrease if Christ might only increase, to be nothing if Christ might be all. And here has been the secret of the honor God has put upon them. "He that humbles himself shall be exalted." (Luke 14:11.) If we profess to have any real Christianity, let us strive to be of John the Baptist's spirit. Let us study HUMILITY. This is the grace with which all must begin, who would be saved. We have no true religion about us, until we cast away our high thoughts, and feel ourselves sinners. This is the grace which all saints may follow after, and which none have any excuse for neglecting. All God's children have not gifts, or money, or time to work, or a wide sphere of usefulness; but all may be humble. This is the grace, above all, which will appear most beautiful in our latter end. Never shall we feel the need of humility so deeply, as when we lie on our deathbeds, and stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. Our whole lives will then appear a long catalogue of imperfections, ourselves nothing, and Christ all... The greatest saint in the sight of God, is the man who is most thoroughly "clothed with humility." (1Pe 5:5.) Would we know the prime secret of being men of the stamp of Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Daniel, and Paul, and John the Baptist? They were all eminently humble men. Living at different ages, and enjoying very different degrees of light, in this matter at least they were all agreed. In themselves they saw nothing but sin and weakness. To God they gave all the praise of what they were. Let us walk in their steps. Let us covet earnestly the best gifts; but above all, let us covet humility. The way to true honor is to be humble. No man ever was so praised by Christ, as the very man who says here, "I must decrease," the humble John the Baptist. (J. C. Ryle. Expository Thoughts - John) John Ruskin (1819-1900) wrote that "The first test of a truly great man is humility." Spurgeon said that "Humility is to make a right assessment of oneself." "Do not be proud of race, face, or grace." (Point: everything and anything we have is from God Alone so how can we boast?) The higher a man is in grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem. Dwight L. Moody declared that... "Unless you humble yourself before (God) in the dust (Note: tapeinos = not rising far from the ground), and confess before Him your iniquities and sins, the gate of heaven, which is open only for sinners saved by grace, must be shut against you forever." Puritan William Secker wrote that "Pride is a sinner's torment, but humility is a saint's ornament." Puritan William Gurnall said that "Humility is the necessary veil to all other graces." Andrew Murray on humility... Do you want to enter what people call "the higher life"? Then go a step lower down. As someone once said, "The ears of barley that bear the richest grain always hang the lowest." John Flavel had it right declaring They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud. F B Meyer wrote I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller, but of stooping down, to get His best gifts. An unknown saint wrote "Become nothing if you would become something." In His rules of success, you must stoop to rise, go down to get up, and shrink to grow. Warren Wiersbe wrote that... To be poor in spirit means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and being yourself to the glory of God. After the memorial service for George Whitefield a staunch supporter of Whitefield accosted John Wesley, who had disagreed on some theological points with Whitefield, asking "Mr. Wesley, do you think you shall see Mr. Whitefield in heaven?" "No," retorted Wesley. "I was afraid you would say that," lamented the lady. Wesley however went on to say "George Whitefield will be so near to the throne of God, that men like me will never catch a glimpse of him." Wesley's humility clothed him all his life and at one point he wrote to Francis Asbury, the founder of Methodism in America, "Oh, beware do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing, and Christ be all in all." Richard DeHaan, wrote an excellent little book on 1 Peter, in which he gave this test of true humility describing First, the test of precedence "Do you feel badly when others are honored, because they outshine you?" Second, he noted that then comes the test of sincerity "All too often, people say things about themselves to sound humble, when they really are not." Third, the test of criticism: "Do you react unfavorably when someone points out your shortcomings?" If you gave yourself a perfect score on this test, you failed the test of humility (from Richard DeHaan, Good News for Bad Times). Humility is the opposite of pride, the sin that has always separated fallen men from God, making them, in effect, their own gods. Genuine humility involves believers’ not thinking too highly of themselves and requires that they regard one another as more important than themselves (see Philippians 2:3-note) In addition to Dr Barber's notes below see (Torrey's Topic "humility") The humble man realizes that all that he has comes from God and must be given back to God. John the Baptist said: “A man can receive nothing, unless it have been given him from heaven.” Jn 3:27 Humility is the hallmark of the servant resting in, and sent from, the Father’s presence (contrast false humility translated "self abasement" in Col 2:18) (note). There is a sense in which God’s true servant is always a defeated man. The one who drives on with a sense of his own importance, who is unwilling to appreciate the worthlessness of his own best efforts and is always seeking to justify himself—that one will not be meek, and so will lack the essential enablement by which God’s work must be accomplished. Our brokenness must not be feigned; we must not be content with the mere language and appearance of humility. We, too, must be as conscious of Divine mercy in our being recovered for God’s service as we are of the original mercy which drew us from the dark waters of death. Humility is quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or irritated or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have my blessed home in the Lord Jesus, where I can go in and shut the door and be with my Father in secret, and be at peace when all outside is trouble. The Father may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it. True humility does not so much consist in thinking badly of ourselves as in not thinking of ourselves at all. I am too bad to be worth thinking about. What I want is, to forget myself and to look at the Lord Jesus Christ who is indeed worthy of all my thoughts. Doubts are not marks of humility; unbelief is really evidence of pride. When we are conscious of pride we fancy that humility will meet our need, but the answer to pride is not humility, it is the Lord Jesus, and He is the answer to every need. The Father will not give you humility or patience or love as separate gifts of grace; He has given you the Lord Jesus, and if you simply trust Him to live out His life in you, He will be humble, patient, loving and everything else you need. When we think we're humble--we're not. HUMILITY WAYNE BARBER'S EXPLANATION In his exposition of Ephesians 4 (Click here), Wayne Barber has a practical discussion of the practical significance of tapeinos/humility... In Ephesians 4:1, 2, 3 (notes) What does this word "humility" mean?...The word (in Eph 4:2-note) is the Greek word tapeinophrosune (from tapeinos + phren = to think) which means to think less of yourself. The root word tapeinos... means to get down as flat as you can possibly get so nobody can see you at all... to be level with the earth. The Greek verb phren ...speaks of a framed attitude of the mind...an attitude. So what is the attitude we must have towards ourselves? The attitude is that we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (cp Ro 12:16-note). We need to get down where we belong. Listen, the only way up is to bow down before God. Do you want a proper estimate of self? Here it is... Die. Get down, flatten out, so that the Lord through His divine enablement can continue to keep you united with the body of Christ. There are 3 things that I want you to see about humility. Paul uses it three times in three different books and each teaches us something about humility. (1) Acts 20:19. This is an important Scripture because Paul is speaking...with the elders of Ephesus (Ed: He is on his way back to Jerusalem and then on to Rome to be imprisoned and he will never see these men again). He has brought them down to Miletus. In this passage, we see that an attitude of humility is essential to serving the Lord Jesus Christ... Some people think, "God is so glad to have me on His team." That is about as unbiblical as anything you could say. God doesn’t want to use anything about who we are (Ed: That is our flesh nature in which there is no good thing! cp Ro 7:18-note). He wants us to be an empty vessel so He can infuse His power in our life (Ed: cp 2Co 4:7, 2Ti 2:21-note, Jesus referring to Paul in Acts 9:15KJV). Humility is an essential attitude which is necessary for us to carry out effective service for Christ. Let’s back up to Acts 20:18 to catch the context... And when they came to him [the elders coming down to Miletus from Ephesus], he said to them, ‘You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving (douleuo from doulos = conveys idea of one serving another as a slave serves his master and = present tense signifies this was Paul's continual attitude and action toward) the Lord with all (pas = all without exception, speaks of completeness) humility (tapeinophrosune [word study]) and with tears and with trials (peirasmos [word study]) which came upon me through the plots of the Jews The first point about the essential attitude of humility in serving Christ is that when it is there, everybody else knows it. Paul says "you know...you saw...you experienced." Paul said, "You know that I was serving out of humility." How did they know? Paul didn’t tell them. I like what Ian Thomas said, "I can’t. He never said I could. He can. He always said He would." That is the essence of humility.... When you have that attitude, everybody knows it... You are not aware that they are aware, but they are aware. Paul said, "You know." Secondly, if humility is real it will provoke those who are "religious" (Ed: Christianity if more about relationship than about "religion".). Look at Acts 20:19: "serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews." Is he talking about all Jews? No. He is talking about the "religious" group... Religion is what man does, and therefore, man has to stand up to do it. Christianity is what God does, and man has to get down in order to allow God to do it. The two cannot peacefully coexist... When you start being humble of mind, it means you are aware totally of what you are not, what He (Christ) is and Who He (Christ) is. You wait until He initiates it (Ed: e.g., a "good work") so that He might anoint it (Ed: And empower it.). The third thing is in Acts 20:22. If this humility is real, then God’s will will always be preeminent above your will. Acts 20:22 says... And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. We know what happened to him... We know he has been in prison for five years because he went to Jerusalem. At this point in Acts 20:22 he doesn’t know. He said, "I don’t have my will." Everyone tried to stop him from going to Jerusalem, but he said, "I have to go. I am chained to His chariot. I am bound to His Spirit. I am a prisoner of Jesus. I am a bond-servant of Christ." (cp Acts 21:12, 13, 14) When humility is a reality in your life, it is not what you wear or don’t wear. It is your attitude towards God which works in your life. You don’t have an agenda which you place before God. You just want His agenda in your life. So we see that humility is the essential attitude in serving Christ (Ed: His will not our will - see same idea inherent in the term doulos [word study] = a bondslave or bond servant). 2 Secondly In Colossians 3:1,2, (note) humility is the attitude of those seeking a higher calling. The context is Col 3:1... If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking (present imperative = make this your lifestyle, the desire of your heart above all else to continually, intentionally, diligently seek) the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on present imperative = command to continually have this mindset) the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Col 3:1-see note, Col 3:2-see note) With this context now look at Col 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved (Ponder your privilege and your position in Christ that it might motivate you to...), put on (aorist imperative - command to do this now, do it effectively. Don't delay!) a heart of compassion, kindness, humility (tapeinophrosune [word study]), gentleness and patience. Humility is part of the garment of the lifestyle of those who are seeking a higher calling. Who are these humble people? They are not seeking their own calling. They are seeking His calling. They are not looking for the praise of men. They are looking for the glory of God in their life (cp Mt 5:16-note). It is an attitude that originates from their new life in Christ. 3 Then finally in Philippians 2 we see this attitude of humility once more. This attitude is not only essential to serving Christ, it is not only the attitude of those seeking Christ, but it is also the very attitude of our Savior Himself. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind (tapeinophrosune [word study]) regard one another as more important than yourselves...5 Have this attitude (present imperative = make this your lifestyle) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled (tapeinoo) Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name (Php 2:3-note, Php 2:5, 6, 7-note, Php 2:8, 9-note) Have you ever heard someone preach on this passage but not put it in context? We know what Christ did. We know He emptied Himself of His glory, but Paul says is that you are to have the same attitude in you that He had before He came to this earth to die on a cross. So therefore be strengthened in the inner man with an ability that you don’t normally have (cp Eph 3:16-note). It is an ability He has place within you. Who is in you? It is Christ Himself (Col 1:27b-note; Ro 8:11-note). Let that attitude be released in your life. That is His attitude. What is it? Philippians 2:3 says, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind (tapeinophrosune [word study]) let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. (Php 2:3-note) I hope you are beginning to see something... If I truly have a high view of salvation, I will have a proper estimate of myself. Therefore, I am going to be humble in the way I approach the body of Christ. My attitude is, I know that I can’t, but I also know that He can. I want to be strengthened with might in the inner man with His power (cp Eph 3:16-note). Many think that talking badly of ourselves is the ideal of humility; whereas the simplest and more real humility is to feel unaffectedly that we are too bad to be worth talking about. Only One is worthy of all our thoughts and words and ways, even the Lord Jesus Christ. For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, Whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. (Is 57:15) In his heart there is a little altar where he bows down before himself, and in his eyes there is something which looks at all men with a silent contempt. ><>><>><> GARBAGE DETAIL - It was once my privilege to preach in a church where love and warmth were especially evident. I was impressed by the members' willingness to pitch in and work. On the Sunday I spoke, three services were scheduled. The women of the church had provided a bountiful meal to be served between the meetings for visitors who had traveled a long distance. Following the dinner, after most of the people had left, I noticed a distinguished-looking couple clearing the tables and dumping the paper plates into large plastic bags. When I complimented them on what they were doing, they said matter-of-factly, "Oh, we're the 'garbage detail.' We volunteered to clean up after every church function. We consider it a ministry." How wonderful that this man and woman were not only available to serve the Lord, but they humbly did what others might consider demeaning work. These dear people were glad to be what they cheerfully called the "garbage detail." Some members of the body of Christ are called to serve in places of prominence; others to labor quietly behind the scenes. Regardless of what the Lord asks us to do, let's be willing to do it by serving one another through love, knowing that ultimately we are serving the Lord. — Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) There's surely somewhere a lowly place In earth's harvest fields so wide Where I may labor through life's short day For Jesus the Crucified. —Prior There is no insignificant task in the church. ><>><>><> DOOR OF HUMILITY - Over the centuries, the entrance to Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity has twice been made smaller. The purpose in the last case was to keep marauders from entering the basilica on horseback. It's now referred to as the "Door of Humility," because visitors must bend down to enter. As we age, bending our knees becomes more and more difficult and painful. In the physical realm, some people courageously undergo knee replacement surgery. To avoid years of increasingly painful joint damage, they endure several weeks of agony. Like physical knees, spiritual knees can grow stiff over time. Years of stubborn pride and selfishness make us inflexible, and it becomes increasingly difficult and painful for us to humble ourselves. Seduced by false feelings of importance when others submit to us, we never learn that true importance comes from submitting ourselves to God and to others (Ephesians 5:21-note; 1 Peter 5:5). As we celebrate Jesus' birth, it's good to remember the Door of Humility, for it reminds us that we all need new knees-knees that will bend. Humbly is the only way to enter the presence of God. What better way to honor the One who bent so low to be with us. — Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Christ's humble birth should help us see What life in Him can bring; It's not acclaim that we should seek But service for our King. -Branon The road to victory is paved with humble submission to God. ><>><>><> KNOWN FOR HUMILITY - It seemed as if the guest preacher wanted to be sure we were all impressed with his credentials. In his message he informed us of his greatest accomplishments, and he told us that among his friends were a number of well-known, influential Christians. Maybe you've heard church leaders make statements like this: "Numbers are not important to our church, but in the past 3 years we have grown 600 percent and increased our giving by 800 percent." Soon after they say they're not interested in numbers, they start tossing them around! It's a subtle way of bragging. I can't be too critical, though. I've seen pride in my own life. I was standing by the literature table of a church when someone picked up a copy of Our Daily Bread. "Do you read that?" I asked. "I start every day with it," came the reply. "Well, I write for it," I heard myself say. Pride—ugh! As servants of Christ, we should be known for humility. First Peter 5:5 tells us to "be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'" We should be unpretentious, talk about other people's accomplishments, and focus on serving others. Lord Jesus, please help us to guard our hearts against pride, and teach us to be humble. — David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Self-centeredness brings misery, A proud heart brings much pain; But those with true humility Have lasting peace to gain. —Sper No garment is more becoming to a child of God than the cloak of humility. ><>><>><> CLIMBING HIGHER - Pastor Dale Kurtz laughed so hard that his sides ached. He was watching a frustrated squirrel trying to climb the metal pole supporting a bird feeder. The squirrel repeatedly got part way up, then slowly slid down the pole in a heap. In an describing this incident, Kurtz wrote, "What the squirrel didn't know was that I had greased the pole!" Kurtz then pointed out that "greasing the pole" is one of Satan's tactics to hinder Christians in their spiritual climb. The "grease" he often uses is our own pride, complacency, and self-sufficiency. How he must laugh! In today's Bible reading, Peter listed four things that will help us continue in our spiritual climb and not slide back: Submitting to one another (1Pe 5:5). Humbling ourselves before Almighty God (1Pe 5:6). Casting all our care on our caring Lord (1Pe 5:7). Disciplining ourselves and being watchful (1Pe 5:8). These four actions and attitudes enable us to resist Satan's attacks (1Pe 5:9) and allow God's grace to strengthen us and cause us to be established in our faith (1Pe 5:10). Satan wants to keep us from making progress in our spiritual life. With the Lord's help, though, we can keep on climbing. — Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Onward and upward your course plan today, Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus' way; Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize, Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes. --Brandt To avoid sin's tragedy, learn Satan's strategy. ><>><>><> F B Meyer in his book Tried by Fire has the following discussion of humility... THE GARB OF THE HOLY SOUL "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."--1 Peter 5:5-6. ONE of the chief signs of the unrenewed spirit is the haughty self-complacency with which it bears itself. To resent an insult; to stand upon fancied rights; to vaunt superiority; to show "the silver, and gold, and spices, and precious ointment," in the ostentatious and vainglorious way which brought reproof and chastisement on Hezekiah--this is the manner of the world. And this insidious sin of pride dies hard in the child of God; nay, it may be questioned if ever we shall be perfectly quit of it on this side the gates of pearl. It is Protean in its form, changing with every temperament, suiting itself to every mood, clinging as a Nessus cloak even around the flesh of the converted man. Christian men are proud of their houses, and carriages, and wealth, and position. Christian women are proud of their person, and dress, and rank, and children. Christian ministers are proud of their influence, and sermons, and the admiration they receive. A bit of flattery, a newspaper notice, a conscious success, are food enough for pride to grow fat upon, till it begins to fancy that all the world is thinking of it, and feels that the most extravagant praise is but a grudging tribute to its worth. May I not press this upon my readers further, urging each to consider his own character and behaviour in the light of these words. We must be convicted of pride before we seek the grace of true humility. Pride is one of the most detestable of sins; yet does it find lodgment in earnest souls, though we often speak of it by some lighter name. We call it independence, self-reliance. We do not always discern it in the hurt feeling, which retires into itself, and nurses its sorrows in a sulk. We do not realize how much it has to do with our withdrawing from positions where we feel ourselves outshone by some one who excels us, and with whom we do not care to enter into comparison with the certainty of being second best. It would not be at all easy for us to be silent; to take the lowest place; to learn--where now we count it our prerogative to teach. And sometimes, when we are clearly worsted, and obliged to step down, we begin to pride ourselves on the sweetness of our disposition in taking the affront so pleasantly. We are proud of our humility, vain of our meekness; and, putting on the saintliest look, we wonder whether all around are not admiring us for our lowliness. I fear me that Bunyan's shepherd-boy, sitting in the lowland glade, and singing, would have become proud of being so low, had he known that his lowliness was to render him immortal. There is at least one preacher whom I know, who has been proud of his sermons on humility, and ostentatious of his efforts to be meek. And thus, even if the soul should array itself in the garb of humility, however simple and plain it be, there is imminent risk of its becoming vain. "Of all the evils of our corrupt nature, there is none more connatural and universal than pride, the grand wickedness, self-exalting in our own and others' opinion. St. Augustine says truly, that which first overcame man is the last thing he overcomes. Some sins, comparatively, may die before us; but this hath life in it, sensibly, as long as we. It is as the heart of all, the first living, the last dying; and it hath this advantage, that whereas other sins are fomented by one another, this feeds even on virtues and graces as a moth that breeds in them, and consumes them, even in the finest of them, if it be not carefully looked to. As one head of this hydra is cut off, another rises up. It will secretly cleave to the best actions, and prey upon them. And therefore there is so much need that we continually watch, and fight, and pray against it, and be restless in the pursuit of real and deep humiliation, daily seeking to advance further in it." The metaphor used in this passage is surely derived from that most touching incident on the eve of the crucifixion, when, though having present to his mind his origin and destiny, our Lord took upon Him the form of a servant. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." What a lovely vesture did that stripping, that towel, that lowly attitude, between them make! Not even when He stood radiant on the Mount of Transfiguration did He seem to be dressed so fair. Surely Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as He. And so the injunction comes to us all, that we should adopt the same livery, and each one don his garb. "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility." The question is --how to be humble. 1. RECOGNIZE THE CLAIMS OF THOSE OLDER THAN AND SUPERIOR TO YOURSELF. "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder." In Athens it was held to be a matter of first importance that the young should pay deferential respect to their seniors. And even among the precepts of the New Testament, it would be hard to find one more salutary and beautiful than that of the old law: "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD" (Lv 19:32.). We need to repeat these maxims of wisdom and grace in the ears of each new generation. It is impossible not to notice the great laxity in such matters which is spreading through modern society, loosening its bands, and affecting its stability. Perhaps it is that children are too early taught habits of self-reliance, or are too precocious in their studies. But certain it is that they are more apt to dictate than to submit. Young shoulders are disinclined for the yoke. And yet how many bitter memories are being stored up for coming days! We remember how Dr. Johnson, in late life, stood bareheaded in the rain, in the market-place at Lichfield, in remorseful remembrance of boyish disobedience to his dead father. "Ye younger, submit." Of course there are occasions when conscience forbids us to submit; and then we must respectfully state the reasons of our refusal, at whatever cost. But these occasions are comparatively rare. And in all doubtful cases--in all cases where a good conscience is not directly infringed--we should submit. Where young Christians have asked my advice as to the way they should behave, when their parents urge them to go to places which, if left to themselves, they would not choose, I invariably answer that, if their conscience absolutely prohibits them, as to the theatre, music-hall, or ball, they have no alternative but to refuse; but, where the question is as to indifferent things, so long as they are under parental control they should yield, if it be insisted on, after they have stated their scruples or objections. There are, however, other relationships in life besides that of parent and child. We are constantly thrown with those who have seen more of life; have lived more years; and acquired more experience than ourselves: and who have claims upon us. To all such--unless where their character has absolutely forfeited all their claims on our respect--there should be service without servility; meekness without meanness; consideration without cringing; politeness without a thought of policy. And the cultivation of this habit of deference to those who are older and better than ourselves, with a distinct intention to acquire thereby some new tinge of humility, is to take a considerable step in that direction. 2. TAKE ALL THE OCCASIONS WHICH LIFE AFFORDS OF SERVING OTHERS. "All of you be subject one to another." Of course there must always be a diversity of function in society; but the very positions in it which we have inherited or acquired give us opportunities of exercising this constant life of self-denial for those around us. To submit to discomfort, that we may promote their comfort. To submit to inconvenience, that we may make life easier for them. To submit to the cross, that we may save them, though at the cost of our blood. It is the same teaching as came out before in the injunction to "submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake." Yield before wrong. Hold your mouth in subjection, choking back the proud, resentful words leaping up there for expression and chafing for utterance. Give up even your rights, rather than go to law to keep them. "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." And submit in such matters, not from mean-spiritedness or cowardice, but because you will accept each opportunity which is put into your way of acquiring the grace of humility. Let the servant take the rebuke of the master meekly, not careful to vindicate himself, save where the cause of God may be jeopardized by his fault. Let the employee receive the remonstrance of his employer quietly, eager to comply with any righteous demand, and to learn in silence. Let the believer who has said or done anything unkind and unjust to a fellow-believer confess it with shame, and put the scourge into his brother's hands, while he stands meekly to bear the inflicted strokes. Let us not shrink from humbling ourselves before our servants and children, if we have sinned against them. Strong as rocks and lions in our advocacy of the truth as it is in Jesus, let us be as the reed swept by the storm when it is merely a question of our good name, and prestige, and well-being. And let our single purpose be in all to learn the grace of humility, in all the occasions for its practice which our God throws in our way. 3. ACCEPT ALL THE DIVINE DISCIPLINE OF LIFE. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." Ah, what infinite sorrow men lay up for themselves in resisting the Divine will! If you fret and chafe against his appointments, finding fault with Him because He has not given you another lot, some other partner for your life, some more congenial occupation, you cannot but be wretched. For at the bottom of all such dispositions, which fume as the waves of the sea, there lurks a feeling of disappointed pride, which thinks that it deserved some better treatment from God, and considers itself ill-used. But who are we that we demand so fair and comfortable a lot--we whose first father was a gardener who stole his Master's fruit; who have sprung from the dust but yesterday; and who have piled Alps on Andes of repeated sin? Let us accept what God sends. The worst is ten thousand times better than we deserve. The hardest is the better evidence of a love which dares not spoil us. The whole is dictated and arranged by such wisdom as cannot for a single instant err. The shadow cast by that mighty hand is dense and dark; its pressure is almost overwhelming. David cried, as he felt it, "Day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer." But bend beneath it. Its pressure may be felt in personal suffering, in rebuke, or shame, or persecution, or in loss of property, or in some other form of chastisement, yet take each as another opportunity of putting into practice this injunction to humility. "Lie still my soul! whatever God ordains is right and good; thou deservest nothing better; what right hast thou to be sitting at the royal table at all, when thou hadst forfeited it for the swine's fare? If thou hadst thy rights, thou wouldst be now in the outer gloom." 4. OTHER METHODS MAY BE SUGGESTED. Let us try to get a true estimate of ourselves. Let us judge ourselves now that we be not judged at the last:-- (1) Look into thyself in earnest-- "And truly, whosoever thou be that hast the highest conceit of thyself, and the highest causes of it, a real sight of thyself will lay thy crest. Men look on any good, or fancy of it, in themselves, with both eyes, and skip over as unpleasant their real defects and deformities. Every man is his own flatterer. But let any man see his ignorance, and lay what he knows not over against what he knows; the disorders in his heart over against any right motion of them; his secret follies against his outwardly blameless carriage--and it shall be impossible for him not to abase and abhor himself? (2) Accustom yourself to took at the good in others.-- Many of us compare ourselves at the best with others at their worst, and of course we come off with advantage, at least in our own esteem. We are so much keener to see the defects than the excellences of our companions. We look at the one with the magnifying glass, and at the other with the reversed telescope. But if we were to be as keen on their virtues as now on their vices, always looking for the compensating grace, always making such allowances as we can find, always magnifying what is lovely and of good report, and thinking of these things, then we should find the bubbles of our self-congratulation pricked and burst. (3) Accept all kind, good things, from whatever source, as the gift of God, and tune your heart in praise to Him.-- It is very pleasant to be thanked and kindly spoken of; to be surrounded by dear friends with their honeyed words: and we may be thankful when such hours shine on us; as it is impossible for them to last, if only we are true to our Master. And whilst they tarry they will not hurt us, if only we pass on all kind speeches in thanksgiving and praise to God. When we can transmute all praise, into Praise, all speeches into Speech, and gifts into Sacrifices, failing down to worship Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, we shall emerge from the ordeal, without having contracted guilt. (4) Claim the humility of Jesus.-- As you go through the world, not only set yourself to resist pride, but make every temptation towards it an occasion for lifting your heart to Christ to receive from Him something more of his own sweet and humble spirit. "Thy humility, Lord!" There are many incitements to this: God resisteth the proud.--The Greek word here is very expressive. He sets Himself in battle array. Ah, miserable attempt to withstand God. Pharaoh perishing in the Red Sea is the perpetual evidence of the futility of the conflict. All things may seem to prosper for a time; but discomfiture is certain, and will be final. He giveth grace to the humble.-- "His sweet dews and showers of grace slide off the mountains of pride, and fall on the low valleys of humble hearts, making them pleasant and fertile. The swelling heart, puffed up with a fancy of fulness, hath no room for grace. The humble heart is most capacious, and, as being emptied and hollowed, can hold most." The vessels which are most heavily laden sink lowest in the water; and those which can sink lowest, without danger, are they which are most heavily freighted. Oh for the humble heart which can hold most grace; and, as it obtains more, sinks still lower in its own esteem! He will exalt in due time.--"The lame take the prey." The meek inherit the earth. The master of the feast bids those who take the lowest rooms to go up higher. Moses, the meekest man, has taught the principles of jurisprudence to half the world, and sits on the judgment-seat. The martyr's stake has ever been a throne from which the sufferer has ruled after-ages. The men and women of gracious, retiring spirit wield the truest authority in town or village. These who can die on the cross, pass through the grave to the Ascension Mount. Be humble, not only in outward mien, but in the inner shrine of thy spirit; and in due time, not to-day or to-morrow, but in his own time the Lord will exalt thee to inherit the earth. (F. B. Meyer. Tried By Fire) Torrey's Topic Humility Necessary to the service of God - Micah 6:8 Christ an example of - Matthew 11:29; John 13:14,15; Philippians 2:5-8 A characteristic of saints - Psalms 34:2 THE WHO HAVE Regarded by God - Psalms 138:6; Isaiah 66:2 Heard by God - Psalms 9:12; Isaiah 10:17 Enjoy the presence of God - Isaiah 57:15 Delivered by God - Job 22:29 Lifted up by God - James 4:10 Exalted by God - Luke 14:11; 18:14 Are greatest in Christ’s kingdom -Matthew 18:4; 20:26-28 Receive more grace - Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6 Upheld by honour - Proverbs 18:12; 29:23 Is before honour - Proverbs 15:33 Leads to riches, honour, and life - Proverbs 22:4 SAINTS SHOULD Put on - Colossians 3:12 Be clothed with - 1 Peter 5:5 Walk with - Ephesians 4:1,2 Beware of false - Colossians 2:18,23 Afflictions intended to produce - Lev 26:41; Deut 8:3; Lam 3:20 Want of, condemned - 2Chr 33:23; 36:12; Jer 44:10; Da 5:22 Temporal judgments averted by - 2Chr 7:14; 12:6,7 Excellency of - Proverbs 16:19 Blessedness of - Matthew 5:3 Exemplified - Abraham - Genesis 18:27 Jacob - Genesis 32:10 Moses - Exodus 3:11; 4:10 Joshua - Joshua 7:6 Gideon - Judges 6:15 David - 1 Chronicles 29:14 Hezekiah - 2 Chronicles 32:26 Manasseh - 2 Chronicles 33:12 Josiah - 2 Chronicles 34:27 Job - Job 40:4; 42:6 Isaiah - Isaiah 6:5 Jeremiah - Jeremiah 1:6 John the Baptist - Matthew 3:14 Centurion - Matthew 8:8 Woman of Canaan - Matthew 15:27 Elizabeth - Luke 1:43 Peter - Luke 5:8 Paul - Acts 20:19 "Go to the page below to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion." http://www.preceptaustin.org/1_peter_54-5.htm#humble

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