Leading By Humble Example (“The Way”)


Ancient Qumran lamp from time of King Herod’s reign

9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Ac 19:9

Christianity, especially in the Book of Acts, is often called “The Way” (KJV usually says “that way”).  We are told to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us, but how will anyone know of this hope (or even care) if we are not living it?  It must be based upon beliefs, but it is the behavior that is evident.  Yes, it is important to believe in keeping the Sabbath, but what good is it if we are not doing it?

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Jas 1:22

It is important that we understand the importance of walking the walk rather than not simply talking the talk.

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

~ Unknown (often misattributed to Francis of Assisi)

This does not mean, however, that you are to never use words.  Obviously, you must use words when asked questions.  Those questions might come from when you ask for time off of work or you explain to your child’s teacher that your son or daughter must miss some school.

I am not suggesting that we start going door-to-door, get on a street corner and start preaching fire and brimstone, hassle people who simply going about their daily business or any of the other stuff normally associated with “evangelism”.  That’s not getting the word out; that’s trying to cram the word down people’s throats.

However, it does not mean you cannot bring up the subject.  How and when it is appropriate is certainly a matter for debate.  In the end, though, we are to be a light to the world.  The old saw that “A light makes no noise unless it is broken” is nonsensical because that is not the analogy.  Salt does not shine light, and it is in the same passage, so we must watch our analogies.

Effective communication will not occur, however, if it is backed up by hypocrisy.  We must live what we preach — literally.

This means it must start, first and foremost, with humility.  If I were to have to choose one trait out of all that a Christian must possess that is more important than all others, I would state it must be humility.

You might be asking, “Shouldn’t that be love?”  No, humility is more important than even love.

“How can you say that?  Jesus said the greatest two commandments are love!”

Yes, He did.  However, you can learn to love.  You must choose humility.  Furthermore, you will never ever learn any of the other godly characteristics unless you are first humble!  Without humility, you’ll never want to learn!  Even repentance, the first step just after learning the truth, requires humility.

Satan is the king of pride.  His way always stresses the path of the arrogant.  He wants to set up himself as supreme ruler in every aspect, and those who do his bidding tend towards the same tendencies.  It should be no surprise.  For the characteristics of those you choose to associate yourself with tend to rub off on you.

That’s why it is important not only to be humble but to take care of to whom you humble yourself before.  It had better be God!

Yet, it is a peculiar trait of carnal nature that wants to take the easy way out.  People want to follow a strong leader because they are essentially lazy.  They want to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it.  In fact, I’m convinced that cults flourish for a time simply because people want someone else to even do their thinking for them.  There are plenty of arrogant men who would swoop in to take advantage of such people and lead them like lemmings to their destruction.

It should be obvious to everyone that beating one’s chest and proclaiming, “We are Philadelphian!” not only does not make it so, but it proves a severe lack of humility.  Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that those that do and turn around pointing the finger at everyone else calling them “Laodicean” are the very people and organizations that do not have the love of God in them.

It is not by coincidence that in the midst of the message to Philadelphia that Christ speaks of the synagogue of Satan.  It is the spirit of love vs hate.

If we are to be examples to others even in this life, we must ensure that we ourselves are following the right path, and not following the path of arrogant men.  We must be humble, but we must be humble towards God.  We must not only be humble, but we must seek out those who are also humble in spirit and be an example — as a group — to the world.

We are training to be leaders in the World Tomorrow.  We must ensure we are learning proper leadership today, right now!




  1. I have a personal slogan that I keep in mind. “I know more than I understand”.

    I agree with “No, humility is more important than even love”, in the sense that without a humble approach to the knowledge contained within the Bible, a person will incorrectly understand what God’s love is in the first place.

    • @Norbert: Those are good points. HWA had to be humble enough to keep the holy days long before he gained an understanding of them.

      I don’t want to take away from that fact, certainly, but my emphasis was to point out that you cannot love God (or even other humans) without a significant measure of humility. If the very definition of godly love includes outgoing concern for others, then it requires us to put self second, which is what true humility is.

      It certainly is not the only point that could be made about the relationship of humility and love; it was just more relevant to the given topic at hand. I would imagine an entire book could be written about the topic of humility in love and still only scratch the surface.

  2. There are so many verses that speak to the importance of humility being vital for one to inherit eternal life — it is FOUNDATIONAL in building a relationship with our Heavenly Father. There are the examples where little children were brought to Jesus and He said that unless we become like them we will not inherit eternal life, and in Mt. 18:4 He links humility with being childlike. Just a couple other verses:

    Is. 66:2 “For all those things hath my hand made, and all those things have been, says the LORD, but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.”

    Mic. 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

    Zeph. 2:3 “Seek you the LORD, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be you shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.”

    If we are not humble, I wonder if it is even possible to understand what true love is? I think not, as you, John, basically stated above. Humility is the antithesis to the attitude that led Satan away from God. We talk about love vs. hate, and how Satan is really the embodiment of hatred, but Satan’s fall did not start with outright hatred — it began with pride — love of self, over humility to another.

  3. Many years ago I put into a politically difficult position in a large (700) WW church in Indiana. As a reward for all my work for the church, I was to pick the subject for the next Bible Study. I picked humility. I did so because I had never heard one, nor a sermon on the this important subject. The minister instead gave a study on envy? With the lack of humility that I saw for decades in the Church, I it became obvious I chose a touchy subject.

    I have been in IT my whole career. It requires you to think logically. I propose that it is illogical not be humble when we frail humans look at the facts.
    We are but temporally animated gooey clay models that only exist because of a loving Creator. I mostly work with fixing data problems caused by imperfect users. When you step back a recognize just how imperfect we all are as humans, it seems silly that we can become full of pride. As we get older are decaying bodies teach us a form of humility. We have no future without aligning our lifestyle to fit toward become a useful worker in an eternal job in the Kingdom.

    It is also illogical not to be humble when you realize that even non Christians are turned off by a pompous and arrogant person, either at work or in any social environment. I get the biggest positive response from my users (450) when I admit I was wrong about something. It actually make them feel better about their failings in try to make our impossibly complex Court System work. It makes us coworkers, not an Administrator talking down to a lowly front line user.

    To be of use in the Kingdom we are to “put on Christ”. Christ example is the supreme guide to humility. He humbled himself to give up his God ship to become a human and suffer for billions of temporary clay model sinners, who would reject, torture and murder him. Christ was in total submission to his Father. In complete agreement and totally obedient. All of this wrapped in real Godly love, which includes the attribute of humility.

    Humility promotes working together, good communicate, tolerance for others mistakes, all essential to make the Kingdom work. My County would work 100% better if all the politicians, judges and chiefs were humble.

    But as of now, that hope would be considered illogical.