The New Testament goes to great lengths to persuade us of the value of humility. "Blessed are the meek" Jesus said (Matthew 5) and "he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12).
In the life and ministry of Jesus Christ it is his humility that is held up to us as an example of righteous living and of pleasing God. Peter says of Jesus that "when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”(1 Peter 2:23,24).
Humility is a fruitful recipient of grace, according to the words of James, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble". (James 4:6.)
To be humble means that you have a clear perspective of your place in life, in context with God and other people. It also means that you know your short comings and that you submit to the Word of God.
Humility is the direct opposite of being in love with yourself, an overestimation of your own competence and accomplishments and being a person motivated by pride.
The most famous phrase of C.S. Lewis on humility is: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."
Jesus, in walking the way of suffering did not think less of himself.
He acknowledged before the high priest and governor Pilate that he is the Son of God and that he is a heavenly King.
But he thought about himself less than thinking about our salvation, our need of atonement and that we would be lost without his ultimate sacrifice.
Well-knowing that he is the eternal Son of God who became a man for our sake, he washed the feet of his disciples, he allowed the soldiers to crown him with a thorny bush and crucify him, he allowed Pilate to sentence him to crucifixion and willingly chose to carry the wrath of God for our sins in our place.
There is no following of Christ and there is no Christ-like life and service without imitating the humility of Jesus.
And as children of God it does not mean thinking of ourselves less than the Holy Spirit teaches us to think, but to be thinking less about ourselves and more about the needs of others, sacrificing our rights and privileges to bring others to God’s joy and glory too.
“O God of mercy who understands my needs!
I know that with the help of the Holy Spirit
I can open my heart more fully
to the deepest meaning of the suffering and death
of your only begotten Son, our Lord:
The meaning of the submissive humility of God who became a man
and his compassion that nailed him to his cross.
Help me to imitate his modesty during my Lenten journey,
to become a true neighbour to those in distress,
and a good Samaritan to those in trouble.
To humbly share the HOPE I have in Christ Jesus
with a community and a world struck by a pandemic,
while I remember that the mercy I receive
is a gift from you, my Lord and my God.
Through Jesus my Redeemer. Amen.”