27th June 2020

In Search of Humility

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave”
Philippians 2:6-7 (NRSVA)

I was recently surprised to discover that various psychologists have been trying to find ways of assessing someone’s humility. Researchers believe that humility is a positive quality that fosters physical, mental, and relational health. Being humble is good for you! One definition of humility is having, or showing, a modest or low estimate of one’s importance. But this leaves me with a conundrum. If I claim to be humble, is that really true? By drawing attention to myself, am I not contradicting what humility is all about?!

Perhaps the way out of this knotty problem is to consider that there has only been one truly humble person: Jesus Christ. “Being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). As his disciples, we seek to let Jesus live in us through the Holy Spirit; we yearn for his humility to inform our thoughts and actions. As Paul declared, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). For all of us, humility is a journey; a quest that will not be completed until we are raised from the dead.

I confess that my own personal quest continues to stumble across pockets of pride. The search for greater humility goes on. But how do we go about it? The findings from psychology can offer us a few clues. Some psychologists are studying humility as they believe that their results can help heal some of the deepest divides found in culture, politics and religion. Some arguments become so polarised that opponents stop listening to one another. They cease being able to see that the opposition is raising some valid points about the issue being debated.

The Christian psychologist Mark McMinn suggests that we all need to ask ourselves one question: Where might I be wrong, and how can I learn from the other? Christians have the added benefit of being able to ask that question in prayer. We can ask in confidence, knowing that God’s desire is that we grow up into Jesus Christ. There are times when true humility seems a far way off, that too much pride obscures our progress. Yet, we are told that “the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Humility is not an easy path, but God himself leads the way. Our tutor, Jesus, is patiently working his humility into our hearts, minds and souls.

Father, in the words of the hymn, ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,’ grant that I may never seek so much…to be understood, as to understand. Fill our lives with the humility of your Son, growing us up into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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One Response to “27th June 2020”

  1. John Armstrong on June 27th, 2020 2:45 am

    Hello Ian,
    Perhaps one of the awards we should have had for graduates in Spokesman Club should have been an honours degree in humility?
    Kind regards

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