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Humility: A Key to Christian Leadership

By Robbie Pruitt | High School Bible Teacher in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. In youth ministry more than 17 years; Trinity School for Ministry, degree in Christian Ministry; Columbia International University, B.A. in Bible and General Studies, minor in Youth Ministry. | May 7 2012

"He must increase, but I must decrease" (John, speaking of Jesus, John 3:30).

Humility is a hallmark of a Christian who truly is modeling Christ in his or her life and leadership. We are called to humility as Christian leaders. Jesus modeled this humility when He said this of Himself: "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). As Jesus gave His life to serve others, to minister and lay down His life, the Christian leader is called to serve in this way, in humility, as well.

Paul talked about Christ's humility in Philippians 2:4-8 when he said, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!"

As leaders, we are tempted to lead in our own power and strength and to make our leadership's central focus ourselves. Neither can we lead in our own strength, nor do we have the power on our own to lead in humility. We must seek out Christ and live and lead in the power of His Holy Spirit. We cannot go at it alone. Even in our trying to lead in our own strength, our pride is illustrated.

Scripture is clear: Our pride and strength will get us nowhere in our leadership. Proverbs 16 says this about pride and humility: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord."

Our job as Christian leaders is like what John said about himself in relation to Jesus: "He must increase, but I must decrease." This humility exalts God in Christian leadership and not self. Such humility is central to Christian leadership.

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