Culture Words: Humility

Humility—it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in our culture. Most parents want their children to be humble, and nearly everyone would agree that humility is a virtuous practice. But what does a culture of humility look like?

In Ephesians 4:1-2, the Apostle Paul begins a great shift in his epistle. The first three chapters have been filled with the “what is true” of the Gospel—Christians have been chosen in love, adopted by grace, forgiven, lavished with rich mercy, raised from death to life, made members of God’s household—the list goes on and on. And in chapter 4, we get the first “what to do.” In light of all of this amazing love and mercy, how are we to live? Here’s how Paul writes it:

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

The big “THEREFORE” in Ephesians and what’s the first thing he writes? Humility. I love the way Sinclair Ferguson puts it: “The Quality of our fellowship together depends on the exercise of humility, gentleness, and forbearance.”

So what does a culture of humility look like in the church? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. It looks like a group of people who have a bigger view of Jesus than they do of their understanding of Jesus.

  2. It looks like a group of people who know they don’t have everything in perfect order and are depending on God’s Grace rather than their own abilities.

  3. It looks like a group of people who are quicker to listen than they are to speak.

  4. It looks like a group of people who repent often to one another.

  5. It looks like people who, as Paul writes in Philippians 2, consider others more significant than themselves.

As we each (motivated by the grace of God shown to us, and with Jesus as our model of humility) pursue humility in our thoughts, actions and relationships, our church will begin to embody a culture of humility. And it will become a place that looks more and more like it’s Savior and King.