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Step 7: Humility

Humility isn’t easy. Jesus challenges me to love and think of others first. That is it. Nothing else.

Jesus knows it is about who I am inside that counts. That inside character is what will come out in the long run.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. 

~Abraham Lincoln

Jesus shows what true humility is all about. Jesus is our model. Why did Jesus come? To serve us and save us. That is clear. That is the real deal.

  • Mark 10:45 — 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
  • Matthew 12:19–20 — 19 “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 “A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory.
  • John 13:4–5 — 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
  • John 13:12 — 12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?
  • 2 Corinthians 10:1 — 1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of the Messiah—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

This is not difficult to understand. The rebels in the church (led by the Judaizers) said that Paul was very courageous when he wrote letters from a distance, but very timid and even weak when he was present with the Corinthians (see also 2 Cor. 10:9–11). The Judaizers, of course, were consistently overbearing in their attitudes—and the people loved them (2 Cor. 11:20). Paul’s “inconsistent” manner of life paralleled his “yes and no” approach to making promises (2 Cor. 1:15–20). When Paul founded the church at Corinth, his purpose was to exalt Christ and not himself (1 Cor. 2:1–5).

Disciples usually grow the way they are born. If they are born in an atmosphere of dictatorial leadership, they grow up depending on man’s wisdom and strength. If they are born in an atmosphere of humility and love, they learn to depend on the Master Jesus. Paul wanted his converts to trust the Master, and not the servant; so he deliberately “played down” his own authority and ability. How ignorant the Corinthians were, even after all that Paul had taught them.

They failed to realize that true spiritual power is in “meekness and gentleness” (2 Cor. 10:1), not in “throwing weight around.” Paul’s very attitude in these opening verses disarmed his opponents. (In fact, his use of his own name is significant; for Paul means “little.”) If Paul was a weakling, then so was Jesus the Messiah; for Jesus exhibited meekness and gentleness. However, our Master could also be stern and even angry when the occasion demanded it (see Matt. 15:1–2; 23:13–33; Mark 11:15–17; John 2:13–16).

Paul was warning them in a loving way, “Please don’t force me to come and show how bold I can be!”