Paul’s Requirements for Humility (3)

Paul’s Requirements for Humility

Now that we know what humility is and why we should demonstrate it consistently, we come to the hard part. What does it look like? Paul tells us three things we should do.

Regard others more important than yourself; don’t be selfish or conceited. (1)

Ever hear the expression “Look out for number one”? Of course, number one would be you. We’re told if you don’t look out for yourself, nobody else will. Paul teaches just the opposite.

Pride led to Satan’s downfall. Now he tempts us to focus on ourselves and ignore others. Our decisions and actions are motivated largely by what we consider best for ourselves. Paul tells us we must lay aside our own comfort and desires and elevate others in importance.

During the 2014 Super Bowl, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman sprained his ankle. As he was limping through the stadium to meet family and friends afterwards, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He was startled to see it was Peyton Manning, Denver’s star quarterback. Despite the bitter disappointment of losing the game, Manning asked Sherman if he was okay. “He was really concerned about my well-being. To show that kind of concern for an opponent shows a lot of humility.”

Look out for others’ interests, not just your own. (2)

During World War II, hundreds of English soldiers became prisoners of war when the Japanese defeated their units, and many were forced to build the Burma Railway. Following work one day, the prisoners’ tools were collected, and a guard noticed a shovel was missing. He angrily demanded the guilty man identify himself. Nobody moved. As the guard aimed his rifle at the prisoners, a man stepped forward, and the guard clubbed him to death. When the work party returned to the camp, the tools were counted again, and all the shovels were accounted for. One man humbly sacrificed himself to save the others.

Some in the profession of arms will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice to save their comrades. All Jesus’ followers are called upon to live for others, in humility sacrificing time and comfort to help those around us whose needs may be much greater than our own.

Be blameless and innocent; don’t dispute or grumble. (3)

Because we’re so competitive, we’re often convinced our way is the right way. We’re ready to battle anyone who doesn’t share our views, and what begins as a simple disagreement can escalate to an all-out war of words. Ever notice that the longer such verbal sparring continues, the more vicious it becomes?

In addition to these feuds, we often enjoy putting down others behind their backs. When word of a new policy or procedure comes down from above, we’re all for it if it agrees with our thinking. When it doesn’t, we’re quick to criticize not just the idea, but the “ignoramus” who came up with it.

Some say George Whitefield was the best-known preacher in England and America during the 18th century. He and fellow Anglican pastor John Wesley laid the foundation for the Methodist Church. Interestingly, Whitefield and Wesley differed significantly on Christian doctrine. Whitefield took great care not to disagree publicly because he didn’t want to hinder the spread of the gospel. When someone asked him if he thought he’d see Wesley in heaven, he humbly replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.”


How can you do a better job regarding others more highly and putting their interests above yours?
Do you need to work on eliminating disputes and grumbling?

(1) Philippians 2:3
(2) Philippians 2:4
(3) Philippians 2:15


Series: Considering the character of humility as a Christian in the military.

1. What is Humility?
2. Why be Humble?
3. Paul’s Requirements for Humility
4. The Rewards of Humility