Studies of Humility: Paul

Studies of Humility: Paul

When I worked at Pine Cove, I sometimes felt like an impostor.  I listened silently as my peers compared their their family vacations in Italy and France.  In stark contrast to their Patagonia shorts, Chacos, and trendy t-shirts that “only cost $20,”  I donned my second-hand shorts and free volleyball tees.  I came from a world vastly different than that of my coworkers.  If America had a caste system, they would be kshatriyas, and I would be sudra.

Yet, the three summers that I spent as a photographer at Pine Cove were the best summers of my life.  My coworkers were hospitable, gracious, and selfless.  Despite our differences, we worked together to further the Gospel.  In my opinion, the collaborative attitude of camp staff perfectly exemplifies the Apostle Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:16 to “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”

Humility

Paul did not write these words only as a good practice for his readers; he lived by this rule himself.

Romans 12_16.jpg

Like my Texas friends, Paul had a lot of accolades.  He wrote in Philippians 4:3-4, “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I have far more:  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”  In short, Paul was the ideal Jew from a good family, and he was devoutly religious.  From a human perspective, he had every reason to scorn lowly Jews, and the culture expected him to snub Gentiles.

Philippians 3.8.jpg

However, Paul “counted those things as loss” (Philippians 3:8) so that He could live for Christ, choosing to witness to the unsaved and serve local churches rather than zealously submitting to the Old Testament Law.  Paul, like the other humble individuals that we have studied, had an accurate view of himself.  Paul was “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel” (Romans 1:1).  As such, he befriended all people–from the worthy physician Luke (Colossians 4:14) to the unworthy slave Onesimus (Philemon 1:10).  Paul ignored his own accolades for the sake of the Gospel.

Thus, our fifth step in the pursuit of humility is living peaceably with all people.

Let me know in the comments:

  • Have you ever felt like an impostor in a group of friends?
  • What types of people do you find easy to love or hard to love?

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