Day 4

Christian Humility

from the Philippians reading plan


Philippians 1:27-30, Philippians 2:1-18, Psalm 133:1-3, 1 Corinthians 1:10

BY Guest Writer

“So, have I missed anything during my Twitter vacation?” I asked my husband, half joking, half serious. Every January, I take an annual social media break. Whatever I call this—a fast, a disappearance, a protest, a spiritual practice, an act of self-care—I’m always astonished how the break makes my world feel quieter. It’s sobering to notice how I’m being shaped by the constant noise of life online. And I wonder how Jesus might be calling all of us to a better, humbler way.

In His letter to the church at Philippi, Paul has quite a bit to say on the subject of humility. He writes, “Consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3), before drawing comparisons to Jesus Himself in 2:5–7.

If this tempts you to empty yourself into silence or challenges your natural fighter instinct, please know this isn’t an invitation to be passive. Jesus was a man who frequently challenged power, debating religious leaders and touching the unclean, and defending the dignity of people on the margins of life. So no, humility isn’t about shrinking into invisibility. There are certainly things worth fighting for.

Perhaps humility is more of a posture. And if humility is our posture and Christ is our example, then we can walk in love and know how to respond when we come up against the messiness of the world, acting from a place of love and security rather than reacting. We can know when to rage against the darkness and when to be still.

We can also learn when to sit and listen. We can fight the darkness while honoring each other’s humanity. We can acknowledge that even the corrupt and the cruel are loved by a God who grieves for them, who longs to lead them out of the darkness and welcome them as sons and daughters.

So, the social media thing? You don’t have to scroll far to see the human tendency to posture with pride. I see it when I ask a question and I’m already planning what to say next. I see it when my love for a person cools because I don’t like their behavior online. I see it when we slip into performative debates for the cultural currency of likes and retweets.

In life online and off, what would it look like to look out for the interests of others before my own? How might we learn to consider others with more importance, even when we disagree? What kinds of questions ought we learn to ask before we speak? And how will it empower us to know when our words really matter?

Questions like these might help to foster humility. And no doubt, we need the help because humility is a hard way. But it’s also one we don’t have to walk alone.

Jen Rose Yokel is a poet, writer, a spiritual director in training, and a contributing writer at The Rabbit Room. Originally from Central Florida, she now makes her home in Fall River, Massachusetts, with her husband Chris. Some of her favorite things include used bookstores and good coffee. You can find more of her writing at jenroseyokel.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jen_rose.

Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "Christian Humility"

  1. Ivy Tillman says:

    “And if humility is our posture and Christ is our example, then we can walk in love and know how to respond when we come up against the messiness of the world, acting from a place of love and security rather than reacting.”

    I’ve not considered humility as a means to security before, thank you for writing this as it has caused me to examine my posture…

  2. Emily Dearman says:

    Alright I just gotta say this! I’ve been thinking about getting social media off my phone for a few days now. Yesterday’s sermon at church really solidified that. Because I can’t see my life and the destiny God has planned for me when I constantly have my eyes on someone else’s. Then reading this today is giving me peace in that decision.

  3. Ingrid LeMunyon says:

    I too have ventured into the social media break. And each time I do the peace has been so noticeable that the break moves longer and longer . Even the underlying motive has changed from “look what I’m going to do” (que: everyone be impressed) and now I get to go back to “this has been such a breather” to no I hadn’t heard that—oh it was on FB? Huh I’ve been so busy I haven’t even bothered to look. I’ll give her a call. The HS is encouraging me to make more face to face (and ultimately more satisfying) connections with friends and family. I’ve realized then I am so much more ready to be His hands and feet. And it’s so much more heartfelt to love a Person than feel superior to a line of text.

  4. Christine Taylor says:

    Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too wonderful for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child.

    Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forever.

    Psalms 131

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