daily devotional

Humility and Inferiority

Reading 2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11

Having "humility of mind" is really an attitude, isn't it? It's a pre-set mentality that determines ahead of time thoughts like this:

"I care about those around me."

"Why do I always have to be first? I'm going to help someone else win for a change."

"Today, it's my sincere desire to curb my own fierce competitive tendencies and turn that energy into encouraging at least one other person."

"I willingly release my way this day. Lord, show me how You would respond to others, then make it happen in me."

Now, before we get neck deep into this unselfish lifestyle, we need to determine if it is, in fact, promoted in Scripture. Does the Bible come right up front and encourage living like this? I'll let you determine the answer. As you examine these few New Testament passages, read them slowly...and don't skip one line!

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honour. (Romans 12:10)

For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5) 

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Those words (there are many others) have a rare ring to them, don't they? In fact, some who read those verses might misunderstand and think I'm advocating inferiority. For your sake, a couple more biblical passages are needed:

For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.... I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. (2 Corinthians 11:5, 12:11) 

There's the balance we're looking for. Authentic humility in no way should be confused with incompetence or lack of self-esteem. As a matter of fact, it is doubtful that anyone who wrestles with an unhealthy self-image can correctly and adequately give to others.

Inferiority and unselfishness cannot coexist.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.