What Does Humility Look Like?

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 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.


In the preceding verses, Paul tells us that we ought to be humble if we want to be united. Now he gives us an example of what humility looks like. Jesus Christ is that example. He had a humble mind or attitude. As his disciples, we too should have the same attitude.

1. SELF-DENIAL – Jesus did not hold on to his divine privileges (vv. 6-7a).

He was God (John 1:1); he was equal to God (John 5:18); but he didn’t hold on the glory of being equal with God (John 17:5). In this regard, he was the greater Moses (Hebrews 12:24).

2. SERVICE – “Taking the form of a bondservant” (v. 7b).

Mark 10:45 ESV
[45] For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 13:13-16 ESV
[13] You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. [14] If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. [15] For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. [16] Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

3. SURRENDER – “He humbled himself and became obedient …” (v. 8)

Matthew 26:39

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Hebrews 10:9

Then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.”

4. SACRIFICE – “To the point of death, even the death of the cross” (v. 8)

Death on the cross is not only a cruel kind of death, it was also very humiliating. It branded you as a criminal.

He disregarded his own life so that others might live. This is what it means to “esteem others better than himself.” This is what it means to “look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”


Are we truly humble? Are we willing to deny ourselves for the sake of others, to serve others, to surrender our own wills and sacrifice ourselves that others might live?


Lord, it is very hard to be truly humble. But you gave us your own example. You left your glory in heaven, became a humble servant, and made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we might live. Help us to follow your lead. Amen.

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