“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 emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” –Philippians 2:5-8
False humility does not serve the kingdom. On the surface, it may look like it does as it centers on serving others and putting their needs ahead of themselves. However, it is predicated on the belief that your needs do not matter, and in that way, all it does is basically call God a liar when he says we’re worth it. All false humility does is say that you aren’t worth it, so it isn’t God’s heart. False humility says that God may love everyone around you, but he actually doesn’t love you. Satan would love for you to believe that, because it would distract you from your identity. False humility pushes aside feelings of unworthiness by deflecting compliments, affirmations, etc., because deep down, false humility is rooted in what we have to say about ourselves. If we actually took the time to listen to what God is saying, we would realize God cares so deeply about each and every part of his creation.
We actually need to repent from our inclination towards false humility. Repentance is not a big scary word. We are all guilty, therefore repentance is the greatest gift God could give to humanity. It moves us toward him, by laying down wrong behavior. We know pride and boasting is a sin, because Paul specifically outlined that in the New Testament. In the ancient Hebrew world, there was a much different view of humanity. There were powerful acts by humans in the forms of sorcery and witchcraft. The emperor who was a human being was thought of as a god. They did not have to worry about false humility like we do, because they had a general inclination towards pride. In the Christian society today, there is an inclination toward false humility that deprecates one’s self by deflecting instead of receiving. It is not godly to deflect. Jesus didn’t deflect when someone noticed him but instead reflected the Father’s heart. We need to take a step back and receive what God has for us and what he says about us if we are ever going to walk into what real humility looks like.
We are the pinnacle of creation. We are not God, but we are God’s prized possession. Saying that is not arrogance, but it is simply fulfilling the calling on humanity. In the Bible, it says, “All of creation is eagerly anticipating the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).” You must be significant, then. God has a purpose and calling on your life, he wants you to take up as much space as needed. Everyone and everything in creation is waiting for you to occupy the space that you were always meant to have, that was actually carved out for you. That belief is not arrogance, it is identity.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”- 1 Timothy 1:15
Now, that we have that out of the way, let me talk about what humility is all about. I believe that in order to understand why false humility is such a big deal, we have to understand why real humility is important. The church answer is: humility is important because Jesus said it was important. We see throughout Scripture that when God’s people humble themselves in an area, they are exalted. The exaltation shouldn’t be our motivation, but that is the system we are working under. Humility has to start with a deep understanding of our own worth with God, and out of that, our perspective begins to align with God’s perspective on how important his people are to him. If God can find the goodness in us, how much more will we then be able to see the goodness in other people?
Humility in its most pure form all points back to God. False humility and pride are the same problem manifested in two ways. False humility points to those around us, and pride points to us. Both are misdirecting our attention from whose opinion really matters. If we actually settled in our understanding of who God says we are, we will not need affirmation from others or ourselves. Humility is entire dependence on God. False humility seeks to fill that need with anything else, and it is incredibly dangerous in our generation.
We are not God, and thank you Jesus for that. We would make terrible gods, but by the grace of God, we are given access to a source that supplies us with everything we need. We are nothing apart from Jesus, but we are everything we are because of Jesus. Out of the assurance Jesus has given up, then we can give up our highest place of honor at the table to invite others into our space.
Author | Cristina Rosiles