True Humility: The Forsaking of Man-Centered Theology
Humility is one of those biblical terms which invites societal, cultural, and civil ideas from the world. Man defines humility with his own vision of what it means to be humble.
Moses was considered the humblest man on the earth…as he raged in anger at “the rebels” he was pastoring. In fact, few of the biblical characters meet post-modern man’s corrupt configuration of “humble.”
Humility is seen as a weakness in the machinations of the machismo. This is why you do not see unpretentious MMA fighters, Olympic athletes, professional athletes, politicians, nor businesspeople. Still, the church’s expectation for pastors is often for a quiet, mild-mannered, open-minded, meek, simple, almost effeminate male. This man, of course, must not be contentious. This is why you see so few pastors tackling real issues in the public realm of social media…with Christ Jesus as the answer.
The reason for this is the feminine nature of church culture, mirroring the world culture around us. The American church would rather have a scantily clad, preferably blond, female leading worship than, say, a crusty Jew in a togated robe and turban. The probable reason for the goddess-to-guide-us is that the women see power and the men see sex up on the stage. Unity.
Would Martin Luther qualify as humble? How about the prophets of the Old Testament? What about the apostles? Jesus Himself would probably not make the list because of His combative nature. Ask the moneychangers, the Pharisees, or the Jews who imagined they were elect. They would not see Jesus as a liberal, pacifist, do-gooder. His words and actions stung them like a scorpion. Consider the coming wrath of the Lamb.
My proposition is that humility is an attitude we have toward the God of the Bible, which is projected publicly in the content of our message.
Clearly, Jesus Christ had a high view of God. In other words, He recognized the sovereignty of God in everything. He only did what He saw the Father doing. In Messiah’s words and actions, God was front and center. In seeing Jesus, we see God the Father. Thus, our task is to humble ourselves before Almighty God, receive His grace, and destroy the man-exalting ideas, words, actions, and accomplishments in the world (see Genesis 11).
Because the human heart is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9), our state of depravity is a global cesspool of human pride. Satan blinds humanity from seeing our daily rebellion against God. Jesus says, “Come to Me…” but the mass of humanity marches and memes in protest, “Hell no, we won’t go!”
Humility is loving God with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. The impossibility of keeping the commandment to do this is met by the grace of God and a supernatural transformation. The regenerate child of God is having his mind renewed (Rom 12:2). He is learning to be a warrior with the Word of God in hand (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). He has the Spirit in him willing and doing His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
Humility is a Christ-centered life. It is a rejection of man-centered life, and this includes man-centered theology.
Advancing the desire for a girlie-man pastor, many today, just go ahead and disobey the Word of God with a woman pastor (1 Tim 2:9–15). The quest is for control of God. This is the end goal objective of man-centered theology…wresting power from God. Of course, free will pundits and power-brokers will never admit this fact because it would be detrimental to their auspicious empires.
An effeminate, humble man or a woman ascends the pulpit to declare that God loves you and wants you to be all you can be. The way to accomplishing this is to become more mild-mannered (a.k.a. “humble”) than you already are now. This is the god of love, only. This god loves the latest mass shooter and maniacal despot…and just wants to give them a hug.
The pride of man, always on parade or in a protest march, is like an odorless, invisible, poisonous gas…deadly. Man says, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” Oh, have you now? The humble reply is, “Well, let’s hope He has chosen you.” Here is where the rubber meets the road in theology.
“I have decided to follow Jesus,” sounds like humble submission, in obedience to the soft (musical) invitation. Few see the heinous pride in stealing the glory of election and regeneration from God. Notice who is the subject and who is the object in this famous claim. Now consider the four songs on Sunday morning. Are you the subject in them, too?
“Well, let’s hope He has chosen you,” is hate speech to most people. The perceived self-righteous arrogance of the preacher, who says this in reply to the man-centered words, is the very reason the preacher is hated (Jn 15:19). He has destroyed a demonic stronghold of pride with a mere suggestion of God’s sovereign election in salvation.
Humility is not some soft-selling demeanor; rather, it is an in-your-face challenge to someone’s pride. Now, it does not have to be rude, but then again, I am sure, “You brood of vipers!” in any tone sounds rude.
In conclusion, Christians must rethink humility. Rejecting man-centeredness and the exaltation of man, in any form, is essential for us being humble before God. Humility is the thought, word, and action that whispers or trumpets, “Christ! Christ! Only Christ!” This is humility.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 1, 2022