Humility is a core value of the Kingdom of God. We must accept the following: 1) God’s will must always take precedence over the will of humans. In fact, humility can be defined as having a receptivity to God’s will. 2) From time to time, it is God’s will that the needs of others must have greater importance than the needs of ourselves. We ascertain God’s will by the means of His Spirit and Word. 3) God recognizes and uses legitimate human authority to bring order, peace, and blessing to His creation. Disorder and chaos are a prescription for misery and unhappiness. Humility requires us to recognize legitimate human authorities. Yes, in this fallen world, there are occasions when legitimate human authorities abuse their authority. Such events and circumstances create a moral dilemma. For example, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the stoning of James, and the execution of Paul were all examples of humans abusing their authority.
The Bible teaches us many things about “humility.” Proverbs 15:33 states, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” Proverbs 18:12 reads, “Before destruction the heart of a person is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” Finally, at Proverbs 22:4, we read, “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.” To be humble is to be teachable.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul told his audience to have tapeinophrosyne, which is a Greek noun meaning “a mental attitude of humility” (Phil. 2:3). Paul also taught us to serve the Lord with humility (Acts 20:19). Humility requires us to acknowledge legitimate authority. In our workplaces, there are often people who rank above us. Our roads and highways are patrolled by the police and highway patrol. We owe all of them respect. If we want order in the classroom, there must be respect for the teacher. In a similar way, as a matter of principle, we should show respect to our elected leaders.
Our readers may recall that there were two prominent women in Philippi: Euodia and Syntyche, who had a personality conflict or quarrel. Their conflict threatened the stability and existence of the Philippine house church. Consider their conflict in the light of Paul’s instruction, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). There are always going to be occasions and circumstances when God elevates others above us. Our safest and required posture is one of humility. Humility avoids inordinate competition with others.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul identified Jesus Christ as our primary example of humility. Paul taught the following:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Every Christian should seek to emulate the humility of Jesus Christ. We advance in the Kingdom of God by humility. Peter taught, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time…” (1 Pet. 5:6). Yes, there are humans who will seek to scam us, defraud us, and abuse us. In many challenging circumstances, we must seek God’s guidance through His Word and Spirit. Jesus taught, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). However, we should never forget that the path to finding God’s approval and blessing is very clear and straight; we must be humble and remain humble. To be humble, we must walk by the Spirit, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, trusting in Christ Jesus, while having no confidence in our inherit fleshly capacity to live our new supernatural way of being. Our new way of being is with God, not contrary to the rule of God.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians confirms that Jesus is co-equal with the Father, but He consented to taking on the form of an inferior human (Phil. 2:5-11). Jesus did not cling to or grasp hold of His superior status of being a co-equal member of the Trinity. In His condescension, He took on the form of a man and willingly suffered a horrible crucifixion for the purpose of saving God’s creation. We are saved by an act of humility, specifically, an act of sacrificial obedience.
Because of Jesus’s enormous act of humility and obedience, God has exalted Jesus above all of God’s creation. God has promised that EVERY KNEE WILL BOW before Jesus. I suggest that we Christians should pay close attention to the potential ramifications of this passage of Scripture. The term “End State” is defined as “the situation reached at the end of a process; the final outcome.” God is conducting a spiritual and physical war against all rebellion, which has been orchestrated by both angels and humans. God is going to completely destroy the rebellion. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul described God’s End State: EVERY KNEE WILL BOW.
Of course, this idea had been mentioned before. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “As I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, TO ME EVERY KNEE WILL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE WILL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD” (Rom. 14:11). In the Old Testament, Isaiah wrote, “I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:23). Admittedly, this assertion by God stretches the human imagination beyond its capacity. In our daily experiences, we commonly encounter many stubborn and obstinate humans. We cannot imagine them swearing allegiance to God. Paul simply writes that God has the power “to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21). Paul used the Greek verb hypotasso, which means “to subdue, subordinate, to subject, to put in subjection.”
Isaiah declared that “every tongue will swear allegiance” (Is. 45:23). He used the Hebrew verb saba, which means “to swear an oath of allegiance.” The NASB20, ESV, and CSB all translate the verse to say that “every tongue will swear allegiance.” After the war has ended, after God’s enemies have been destroyed, then every tongue will swear an oath of allegiance to God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible says many times that the Son will be at the right hand of His Father in Heaven until the Father puts His enemies under the feet of Jesus (Mat. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:43; Acts 2:35; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; Heb. 1:13, 10:13). God has promised that He will achieve a complete victory. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery explains that:
Feet … figure in situations in which someone has authority over a person or place…. Related to this is the idea that vanquished enemies are under the feet of their conquerors. The NT stresses the authority of Christ over all things in this way and the eventual victory of Christian believers over Satan and his followers.
Yes, it is hard for us to imagine such a complete victory by God wherein, ultimately, all of God’s enemies swear allegiance to the rule of God. It is also hard for us to imagine a world where humility is ubiquitous.
 “G5012 – tapeinophrosynē – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Sep, 2022. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5012/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “End State” Macmillan Dictionary, Macmillan Education Limited. Web. 27 Sep, 2022. <https://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/end-state>
 “G5293 – hypotassō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Sep, 2022. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5293/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “H7650 – šāḇaʿ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Sep, 2022. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h7650/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “Feet.” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, edited by Leland Ryken, et al, InterVarsity Press, 1998.