Jesus Christ was the most humble human being to ever live. He voluntarily humbled Himself under the authority of God the Father. He also subjected Himself to the laws of man while on earth. As a child, He subjected Himself to the authority of his parents until he reached maturity. (Luke 2:40, 51)
Under the principle of humility, Jesus Christ surpassed the theologians of His day in His understanding of Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus was a diligent student of the Word of God according to the Gospel of Luke. As humanity, Jesus learned in the same manner in which we learn. (Luke 2:46-47)
Under the Biblical concept of authority, Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the Father’s plan and entered the world domain of Satan. Knowing this, God the Father provided a power system for His Son in order to sustain Him while He was here on earth. This power system is the same system God provides for believers in this age. This power system allowed Christ to accomplish the Father’s plan by remaining impeccable and thus acceptable to divine righteousness.
Since He was sinless, Jesus Christ had no sin of His own to pay for, and therefore He was qualified to pay for the sin of the entire human race. The prospect of bearing our sins was not pleasant to the humanity of Jesus, yet He remained faithful to the purpose for which He came. He humbly submitted to divine judgment on the Cross and paid the penalty for our sin. (Luke 22:42; Philippians 3:5-8)
Christ’s attitude set the example for every believer to follow. Even when ridiculed, ignored, rejected, misrepresented and abused, Jesus Christ never succumbed to revenge motivation or vindictiveness. Jesus was motivated by His personal love for God the Father and humility gave Him the capacity to accept and appreciate divine logistical support. Jesus shared the happiness of God in a state of constant thanksgiving as He interacted with others.
Jesus Christ, though still deity while in in a human body never used His divine power to act independently of the Father’s plan or to benefit Himself. Even when He was being tempted by Satan, Jesus Christ utilized the power of the Holy Spirit and His knowledge of God’s Word to resist the legitimate offers from Satan. (Matthew 4:1-11)
Arrogance keeps unbelievers from admitting that they need a Savior. For believers, arrogance will keep them from advancing in their spiritual lives. Humility, on the other hand, helps an unbeliever see his/her need for salvation. For a believer, humility is necessary for spiritual growth.
Arrogance is saying that we don’t need God or His plan; that we prefer our own plan. Arrogance is the first in a list of sins in Proverbs 6:17-19 that God hates. Arrogance is part of all sin if we really examine it. Anytime we commit a sin we are, in essence, saying that our way is better than God’s way. This is exactly what Satan (Lucifer) did in eternity-past when he rebelled against God. We find a reference to this in Isaiah 14:12-14. This is commonly called “The Five I Wills of Satan.” The amazing thing is that Satan is still arrogant, even after his fall. However, it should not be surprising to us that Satan is still an arrogant being considering he attempted to overthrow God. Arrogance comes in several forms: self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption and self-righteousness.
Self-justification is illustrated for us in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve for his failure and Eve blamed Satan for hers, according to Genesis 3:8-13. Self-justification rejects any personal responsibility for your own actions or attitude. Self-justification is a dangerous form of arrogance.
Self-deception is another deadly form of arrogance as we see in I John 1:8-10. When a person is involved in practicing any pattern of sin over a prolonged period of time, it is easy to deceive yourself into believing that what you are doing is not sin at all. Self-deception can also be thinking about yourself in a conceited manner - for example, thinking that you are better, holier, more spiritual or closer to God that other believers. Self-deception can lead a person right into self-absorption.
Self-absorption is total preoccupation with self. The scriptural illustration of this form of arrogance is the rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16-22. Here we have a story of a man who came to Jesus asking what he could do to inherit eternal life. It is the rich young ruler’s self-absorption that keeps him out of Heaven. Blinded by his riches and possessions, he is unwilling to recognize his need for salvation. He was much like the scribes and Pharisees who were full of themselves to the point of having their consciences “seared” (unable to recognize their own sinfulness). We, as believers in Christ, are to be occupied with Him, not ourselves. (Philippians 2:5: Hebrews 12:2)
Self-righteousness totally ignores God’s righteousness in an attempt to establish one’s own righteousness. Believers and unbelievers are guilty of this destructive sin. Paul recognizes it in the nation of Israel in Romans 10:2-3.
As believers in Christ, we need to realize that we already possess God’s righteousness. Any attempt on our part to establish our own human righteousness as a means of gaining God’s favor is a waste of valuable time. Instead, we could be using that time to build our lives based on God’s righteousness already resident in our souls. God is not impressed with our human righteousness before or after salvation. God is impressed only with His own righteousness. Adjustment to the grace of God eliminates all self-righteous arrogance when in operation (under the control of the Holy Spirit).
How can we recognize our own attempts to establish our self-righteousness? Our attitude toward others and toward God is the indicator. When our attitude toward others is one of criticism or judgment of their failures, whether real or imagined, we are exhibiting self-righteous arrogance. Remember, it is not our job as Christians to criticize or judge others. We need to take care of our own spiritual lives and leave the lives of other believers in the hands of God. (I Thessalonians 4:11-12)
When our attitude toward God is, “look what we have done for you” we are exhibiting self-righteous arrogance. We are attempting to force God to love us or bless us on the basis of our good works. Instead of trying to coerce God by our “good deeds,” we need to learn, believe and apply the Word of God. This is the only way that we are going to be able to relax and enjoy our lives as believers. When you are under pressure to “perform,” you are normally miserable, especially if you feel you will never measure up to God’s perfect standards. So the key to victory over arrogance is humility.
Humility is a mental attitude of grace. Being humble is being grace-oriented to life. Humility recognizes that everything in life depends on Who God is and what He has done for us. Humility is not telling everyone about your failures or attempting to show others how pitiful you are!
Humility causes a believer to think correctly about himself/herself. For example, he/she knows that his/her production as a believer is through the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit, which is a grace function. He/she also knows that everything that he/she is or has is because of God’s matchless grace. Therefore, he/she can be relaxed, confident and single-minded about his/her life. Humility recognizes the rights of others, eliminating both inferiority and superiority complexes, which means our attitude is one of “live and let live.” Humility gives a believer a personal sense of destiny. (I Corinthians 4:7; Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:17)
A personal sense of destiny takes you from spiritual babyhood to the beginning stages of spiritual adulthood. You begin to grow up in Christ and realize all the wonderful things that God has done for you, is doing for you and is going to do for you. You begin to see His work in your past, your present and your future. This causes you to put aside anything in your life that is a distraction to your spiritual life. And it causes you to keep looking to Jesus as your only real hope (confidence) for lasting peace and happiness. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
A personal sense of destiny gives the believer capacity for life by producing spiritual self-esteem. Spiritual self-esteem means that you have discovered who you are in Christ. God never gives us more blessing than we have the capacity to receive. God also never gives us more testing than we are able to endure. Capacity for life replaces the temporary pleasures of the world with the eternal happiness of God. Capacity is increased by spending a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God, consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine and using Divine Viewpoint Thinking. (James 4:1-8, Isaiah 30:18; I Corinthians 10:12-13; Romans 14:10-13; Galatians 6:6-10)
In order to have Divine Viewpoint Thinking, you must know the doctrine taught in the Bible. The more Bible doctrine you know and apply, the more Divine Viewpoint Thinking you will be able to employ. The less Bible doctrine you apply, the more Human Viewpoint Thinking you will employ. The more Human Viewpoint Thinking you employ, the more insecure and unstable you are going to be. Daily study of God’s Word keeps Divine Viewpoint Thinking fresh in the mind and helps counteract Human Viewpoint Thinking. (Psalm 119:129-135) Thinking your way through life with Divine Viewpoint Thinking will bring victory, peace, power and stability. (Isaiah 26:3-4, 33:6) However, constantly vacillating between Divine Viewpoint Thinking and Human Viewpoint Thinking makes a believer unstable according to James 1:8. An unstable believer is an unhappy believer.
Humility makes possible the learning of Bible doctrine because it means that you are teachable. Arrogant believers already know all they need to know! Humble believers recognize that they will never know it all, but strive to learn as much as they can on their way to spiritual maturity and beyond.