“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
Humility is the most unnatural of human attributes; man is naturally self-centred, arrogant and vain; to embrace humility therefore, is to embrace the nature and character of Christ. Our great honour lies in our being just what He was and is; in being accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by those who reject Him, loved by those who love Him and hated by those who hate Him.
The demand for humility flies in the face of the inbuilt self-centredness of the human person; it contradicts the human personality; we seek to make good ourselves; but the hunger for success is the downfall of many Christians. Success must be measured against the standard for success set by Christ Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
God will not allow a man to succeed in matters spiritual until he has been disciplined to the point where he understands fully that such success does not make him any dearer to God or any more important, in God’s eyes, than his fellows. We should not need to be successful in what we do for God to be happy; the man who is cast down in spirit by failure or elated by success is still a carnal man.
In these days, when so much that is called “ministry” is nothing of the sort, success is measured by the same standards used by the world; numbers, property, money; but there is no eternal value in these things; they are wood and hay and stubble. The life we are called to is the life of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).