J. Oswald Sanders, in his book, Spiritual Leadership, noted, "Egotism is one of the repulsive manifestations of pride. It is the practice of thinking and speaking much of oneself, the habit of magnifying one's attainments or importance. It leads one to consider everything in its relation to himself rather than in relation to God and the welfare of His people." The self seems to be what drives humanity. Perhaps it is our nature as humans to be concerned with ourselves first. This is a reality we see in the Garden of Eden when humanity was tempted by that crafty serpent. The temptation was not to fall down and worship the devil as Jesus was tempted to do in the wilderness (Matthew 4:8-9). The temptation was to be like God. All the serpent did was cause Adam and Eve to question what was in it for them. "You won't surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5).
Selfishness dominates our culture. In a day when personal rights for every individual is the battle cry, we forget that the greatest right we have as followers of Christ is to forgo our rights. Christ sets the supreme example for us by emptying himself, not considering being equal with God a “thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6). Paul explains how Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). We too are called to a life of humility. We cannot be the person who flaunts their position or exercises their authority simply for the sake of feeling powerful. Christ had all power. Christ had all authority. Yet he humbled himself, setting an example that demonstrates the very heart of God. If we allow the self to reign in our lives we will say and do things that hurt others, cause difficulty among our brothers and sisters, and shine a bad light on the church.
Humility matters. We cannot be puffed up with pride and selfishness. We must have the mind of Christ. We must humble ourselves. C. S. Lewis rightly stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” May we always strive to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in us.