February 2015, Vol. 34, No. 2

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Christian Service

posted on February 7, 2018

[414 words]

One of the essential characteristics of a servant is “humility.” Without this trait the Christian cannot be successful in his attempt to serve. Peter says, “Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another; for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). Of interest here is the apostle’s use of “gird” (meaning “to clothe ” or “put on”). The word denotes a “knot” or “to tie with a knot.” The term was used at the beginning of the Christian era of the white scarf or apron which slaves wore tightly fastened around their waist to distinguish them from freemen. Used figuratively here, the meaning is to “tie on humility like a slave’s apron.” The Christian is to gird himself with humility in order to equip himself to serve others.

Although a different Greek word is used for Jesus girding himself with a towel in order to wash the disciples feet (John 13:4), Peter could have very well had this vivid mental picture of what the Lord had done when he wrote these words concerning humility and service to one another. Peter was there in the upper room that night and witnessed his Lord lay aside his outer garment in order to gird himself with a towel. What Peter must have been thinking when he saw the Lord do this we can only imagine. We can be assured, however, that it probably was something he never forgot as long as he lived. We should all be encouraged as Christians to clothe ourselves with the towel of humility as we strive to serve others.

Humility is a trait that every Christian should cultivate. Humility is free from arrogance and self- sufficiency. Humility is a trait which grows out of the recognition that all we possess comes from God, whether it is physical life or spiritual redemption. Humility leads us to rely upon God for strength and spiritual sustenance. It is recognition that without God we art worthless. Yet, in another sense, because we are created in God ‘s image and have access to all “spiritual blessings ” in Christ, we have infinite worth and dignity. True humility does not produce pride, but gratitude. Humble people focus more on God and others than on themselves.

Humility of heart will never lead one to consider themselves better than their fellowman or above doing the lowliest tasks on behalf of others. God rejects the arrogant and self-sufficient person, but He exalts the humble of heart.

Stephen Wiggins
San Augustine church of Christ
San Augustine, TX

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