MATTHEW 18:1-5; MARK 9:30-37; LUKE 9:46-48
It is interesting that Jesus used a little child to illustrate humility. Although it is true that little children have a purity and humility that is many times missing in adults, they certainly are not selfless. A child comes into the world totally self-centered, wanting what he wants when he wants it. Parents are to train children out of this self-centeredness.
One of humility’s dominant characteristics is a God-dependency and not a self-sufficiency. The truth of humility being the key to greatness or success was not new. Jesus gave this truth new meaning by walking in humility as no one ever had before.
This path of self-denial to greatness is exactly opposite to the world’s path of exalting self at everyone else’s expense. The path of humility could not possibly work if there was no God. We would simply be trampled underfoot.
Humility is a step of faith – faith that God is the judge and that promotion comes from Him (Ps. 75:6-7), and faith that God will resist the proud but give grace unto the humble (1 Pet. 5:5). Humility is trusting in God and not in ourselves. This is why it is easy to be humble when we’ve failed, and conversely, hard to be humble when we’ve achieved great success. This is precisely why Paul commanded Timothy not to put a novice into a position of leadership in the church. Pride is self-sufficiency and self-exaltation while humility is self-denial and dependence upon God.
God’s kingdom is founded upon this principle of humility before honor. God’s kind of love is selfless as can be seen by Jesus’ own actions. Pride is the only reason that strife comes (Prov. 13:10); so remember, humility is the key to walking in love with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.