1 Corinthians 2:4–5
When we think of what the great apostle Paul was like, the idea of humility isn't the first one that jumps into our minds. Consider his own admission:
My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:4–5)
Now for a preacher, that's quite a comment. The man comes up front and declares not only his lack of persuasiveness but his reason why—that they might not be impressed with his ability but rather with God's power.
There's something very authentic in Paul's humility. Over and over we read similar words in his writings. I'm convinced that those who were instructed face-to-face by the man became increasingly more impressed with the living Christ and less impressed with Paul.
When people follow image-conscious leaders, the leader is exalted. He is placed on a pedestal and ultimately takes the place of the head of the church.
But when people follow leaders with servant hearts, the Lord God is exalted. Those people speak of God's person, God's power, God's work, God's name, God's Word . . . all for God's glory.
Let me suggest a couple of revealing tests of humility:
1. A non-defensive spirit when confronted. This reveals a willingness to be accountable. Genuine humility operates on a rather simple philosophy:
Nothing to prove.
Nothing to lose.
2. An authentic desire to help others. I'm referring to a sensitive, spontaneous awareness of needs. A true servant stays in touch with the struggles others experience. There is that humility of mind that continually looks for ways to serve and to give.
In short, when it is genuine, humility becomes a conduit for the power of God.