The ultimate act of humility was seen when Jesus trusted the Father so completely that he became a vulnerable human baby and later submitted to death on a Cross. His willingness to humble himself had a paradoxical outcome: he refused to elevate himself and, as a result of his refusal, he was raised to the right hand of God. God the Father exalted Jesus because he refused to exalt himself and the same dynamic works in our lives as well.
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:8-10
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” 1 Peter 5:6
Humility is the opposite of pride and it is the quality we most need in order to walk with God but we can only do it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord,” Micah 3:8
Humility cultivates God’s presence, whereas pride alienates him since God is opposed to the proud. Pride is founded on self-deception, the grandiose delusion that we are special and gifted, perhaps even exceptional. God allowed the Apostle Paul to be severely afflicted to prevent pride from creeping in (2 Corinthians 12:7). Particularly pernicious is so-called spiritual pride, a tendency which was continually countered by Jesus in his interaction with the Pharisees.
Originally God made man from the dust of the ground and but for the grace of God, we end up as dust. Humility is the acceptance that we have these lowly origins and we are, therefore, limited beings. This has a very positive effect on our inner world, as it enables us to make peace with our limitations, as well as allowing us to celebrate our strengths. Humility frees us from having overly high expectations of ourselves and of others in a world that often demands impossible standards. We can escape this toxic situation, which always leaves us feeling that we are failures (not just that we have failed but that we, in ourselves, are failures). Humility is being comfortable in our own skin, so comfortable that we don’t feel the need to justify ourselves to others or to bolster our reputation.
The main ‘skill’ which is required for leadership is discerning when we are moving with God’s presence and in God’s Spirit – and not just simply moving. We cannot move in God’s presence and Spirit without being humble. Also, leadership is not simply a case of being good at planning, skilled in organizational development, or having the personal charisma which others naturally follow. This perspective is in keeping with the New Testament where leadership is regarded primarily as a gift from God (Romans 12:8). Also, spiritual leadership is not to be confused with being a religious entrepreneur.
This post is adapted from information in Richard Roberts book Cultivating God’s Presence
In the Millennium all the glorified believers will mediate Jesus’ rule throughout the earth acting as civil and criminal magistrates and judges and spiritual guides and leaders in all aspects of the Kingdom: worship, politics, health, education, business, art, sport etc.