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3 Voices of Lowliness

Updated on December 27, 2014

The Three Voices

In our lives we are taught to be the greatest and the best we can possibly be. Our economic, political, and social structures encourage (as well as rely on) us to fight mercilessly to be on top. However, Jesus calls us to “take upon (His) yoke upon you and learn from (Him) for, (He) is gentle and humble in heart.” Surprisingly, the world has caught on to the strength that exists in lowliness. Here is three different perspectives on lowliness and why we should be humble:

1. The World

It is interesting to note that the world has taken note of lowliness. In business and in sports, humility seems to be conducive to success despite the self-seeking nature that seems to permeate both fields. In a recent article, the Harvard Business Review encourages its readers to know what they don’t know, listen to the weird ideas while being curious, never underestimate the competition, and promote a spirit of service in their respective organizations. More importantly they caution readers in being too self-consumed by saying, “Drinking in the glory of a triumph can be energizing. Too big a drink is intoxicating. It blurs vision and impairs judgment.”[1] The University of Wyoming basketball player Derek Cooke was recently admired by national journalist when they took note of his humility on the court. Mike Vorel, a writer for NCAA explains that Cooke’s “greatest strength, perhaps, is acknowledging his weaknesses.” Vorel quotes him as saying, “When its game time, I just want to do what's best for the game plan. So I finish around the rim and be the best teammate possible."[2]


[1] (Dame & Gedmin, 2013)

[2] (Vorel, 2014)

2. Scholars

In his classic work Celebration of Discipline, Robert Foster explains that there are six avenues of submission that we are called to. God, Scripture, Family, Neighbors, Church, Broken, and finally the world (in that order) we should subject ourselves to as servants if we are to live out the call that is placed upon us in Scripture. [1] In an effort to seek the lowest level of service (thus maximizing his possibilities for humility) Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection often sought the most tedious and unwanted chores of his 15th century monastery in order to be closer to God. In his spiritual maxims he explains that “God desires to humble us and often allows us to go through a number of trials or difficulties to that end.”[2]


[1] (Foster, 1998)

[2] (Lawerence, 1982)

3. Scripture

Be it meek, lowly, or humble, the Bible is replete with references, exhortations, and examples of how and why to be lowly. Paul devotes a significant portion of his writing to encouraging his readers to be humble and lowly especially toward other believers. In Philippians 2:8 he explains that the ultimate example of this is Jesus himself humbling himself “even unto death on a cross” and that we should “have this attitude…which was also in Christ Jesus.” In his letter to the church in Ephesus he “implores (them) to walk in a manner worth of the calling with which (they) have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love”[1]. Perhaps the ultimate calling to lowliness and humility is from Jesus himself as he calls us to “wash one another’s feet” by “giving (us) an example that (we) should do as (He) did to (us).”[2]


[1] Ephesians 4:1-2

[2] John 13:5-20

Look It Up!

Dame, J., & Gedmin, J. (2013, September 9). Six Principles of Developing Humility. Retrieved from Havard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2013/09/six-principles-for-developing/

Foster, R. J. (1998). Celebration of Discipline. New York: Harper Collins.

Holmes, L. (2014, July 7). 7 Ways to Tell If You're a Truly Humble Person. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/benefits-of-humility_n_5578881.html

Lawerence, B. (1982). The Practice Of The Presence Of God. New Kensington: Whitaker House.

Schwartz, T. (2013, Novermber 15). Finding Stength in Humility. Retrieved from New York Times: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/finding-strength-in-humility/?_r=0

Vorel, M. (2014, December 19). Strength in Humility. Retrieved from NCAA Mens Basketball: http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2014-12-19/strength-humility-wyomings-cooke-focuses-what-he-can-do-team

The Practice of the Presence Of God

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