This scripture demonstrates the law of opposite effect in action which relates to the dual nature of reality. Where there is darkness, there is also light; where there is up, down also exists. The Bible states, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:” (Matthew 20:27). The dictionary defines humility as “the absence of any feelings of being better than others”.[i] There is no self-glorification, brashness, pretense or arrogance in humility. That being said, however, many people have made the mistake of assuming the humble leader is weak, timid and just a pushover. It has been said that humility is strength under control. Jesus was a prime example of One who clearly demonstrated humility. Having no goals of self-glorification, He set His will aside to fulfill the will of the One who sent Him (cf. Philippians 2:5-11).[ii]
In many instances, our thoughts of leaders often bring to mind men and women who are successful, have a sense of accomplishment, demonstrate a certain swagger, and whose presence fills every room they go into. They are people who have blazed pathways to success and have their names written on some marquis detailing their life’s accomplishments. While all these thoughts may hold true, they can cause one to overlook a key component of effective leadership which is humility.
A lack of humility can be a sign of insecurity. Any time a leader is afraid to recognize his or her own weaknesses and refuses to seek and accept the talents of those around them, it is quite possible that some insecurity is involved. Some leaders will even resort to debasing and demeaning subordinates and other leaders in order to make themselves appear to be more knowledgeable. Nevertheless, this only makes them appear to be egotistical, pompous and self-conceited. When a team is involved in the work, instead of giving credit to the team for a job well done, the insecure leader will accept all the credit, which is also demonstrative of a lack of appreciation of those God placed around them to complete the work. Contrarily, the humble leader has a confidence in the gifts, the talents and the experiences God has allowed him or her knowing that it was only possible through God. While also acknowledging and being appreciative of the gifts, talents, competence and capacity God has allotted to those they lead. Whenever a person begins to exalt themselves and thinks more highly of themselves than they do of others, it is bound to lead to their own downfall (cf. Proverbs 16:18).[iii]
Humility is a distinguishing trait for Christians and as such operates as an indelible mark on the spirit of the Christian leader.
As leaders in the Body, we are to consider others better than ourselves (cf. Philippians. 2:3).[iv]
The Scriptures assure us that God will exalt and give grace to the humble (Psalm 147:6 & James 4:10).[v]
Humble yourself before men so they may be won by your action and not confused by the seeming hypocrisy between your actions and your speech.
In our mandates to be ambassadors for Christ, we are most effective when we are clothed in humility. Seek God about how you can develop a spirit of humility in your leadership.
[ii] Philippians 2:5-11 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. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
[iii] Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
[iv] Phillippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
[v] Psalm 147:6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.