But is this sufficient or even acceptable motivation for the Christian? I think we all know intuitively that it isn't. We know that humility pursued simply for the sake of gaining influence or advancing career goals isn't real humility at all.
If we're not meant to pursue humility in this way, how then should we be motivated for humility? I know it's a strange question to ask - why should you pursue humility in your daily work?
Should humility be pursued for it's own sake? Or does the Bible offer us particular motivations to seek humility?
Here are a few thoughts from the Bible regarding humility and why we might be motivated to pursue it.
- We seek to be humble because we want to experience God's favor. A prime motivation for humility is that we want God to look upon us - we want His favor upon us - we want more of His grace - we desire more of Him.
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
- We seek to be humble because we know that God is opposed to the proud. Unlike the pragmatist, we seek to be humble because we fear God. The following words ring true to us and we take them seriously upon our hearts -
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another,
for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:5
- We ought to pursue humility because our Savior exemplified humility for us in every way. This is one of the rare occasions in the New Testament that we're encouraged to look to Christ's example as a point of motivation. Paul lends weight to his exhortation for humility by pointing to Jesus' ultimate condescension for our sake.
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves...
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
- We also pursue humility because we trust that God will reward us. This is different from the utilitarian view because it looks to God in faith. It doesn't view God as a vending machine dispensing career advancement or riches, simply by slotting in the coins of humility. Instead, it looks to God, trusting that He will provide the reward in His own time, in His own way.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you
1 Peter 5:6
- We demonstrate humility in our dealings with others because we have received much from God. Have you had success at work? Undoubtedly, you've achieved it because God has provided help through others. If you have skills to apply to your work, it because God has equipped you for it. Are you well regarded? It is God who has granted you favor.
Most of all, you have received mercy and grace from God such that you no longer labor under God's wrath but under His pleasure.
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
1 Corinthians 4:6
Why do you pursue humility? Anything I left out?
Please share your thoughts with us.