A Study on ‘Humility’ – The Ground State

What Is Your Worth? What Defines Your Worth?

‘Worth’ is simply the value of something.

Writing to the Romans, Paul said something very interesting:

“For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”

(Romans 12:3 AMP, emphasis mine)

Reading that, I see that Paul did not say “…not to think of himself highly”, but “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought.” Paul was obviously referring to a ground state, and saying no one should go higher than that.

So how do we define that ground state? How do we even know what it is?

In simple words, your ground state is your person – who you are, what makes you you.

A Pretty Low Benchmark



Say you’re passing by a ewe, when suddenly it gives this VERY LOUD “RROOOOAAAARRR!!!!!” You’re stunned! So is the ewe. You walk up to it, and say, “That was a very loud roar! It rocked the entire jungle!

Thank you!” the ewe blushes.

Now imagine that was an adult lion. Same passing by, same loud roar. Again, you walk up to it and say, “That was a very loud roar! It rocked the entire jungle!

The lion casts a casual glance at you, and goes, “So?

The difference? What was considered ‘special’ for the ewe is considered normal for the lion.

One of the chief reasons for pride is that people have a pretty low benchmark of their own person.

lion (knowledgeoverflow.com)

For example, someone whose benchmark is “I am only a security guard” will definitely be susceptible to pride if he is promoted to be a worker in the company – he might be tempted to see himself as ‘special’ for such a promotion.

A lady who’s rating of herself is “I can only get two ‘A’s” is also likely to become haughty should she study hard, and get a 5.00 GPA.

You see? Even though what they achieved is within reach and capable of anyone, they are still likely to applaud it as ‘one of a kind’, and get puffed up.

Sin has so abused us that our benchmark has been seriously crippled. Someone with a low or wrong benchmark will be more susceptible to pride.

However, someone who’s benchmark is quite standard or high, say “I am the Son of God”, will definitely have no struggle with pride should he raise the dead – he’ll consider it ‘normal’.

So, adjust your benchmark in Truth. Find out who you are.

Person v. Possession

Now, don’t confuse who you are with what you possess. Any possession that is not a part of your person does not make up you, though it may help describe you.

Person: “I am” e.g. “I am a boy

Possession: “I have” e.g. “I have a deep bass voice”. Even if I don’t have a deep voice, that doesn’t make me any less a boy.

Person: “I am a son of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Possession: “I have money”. Even if I’m currently penniless, it doesn’t make me any less a son of God.

Person: “I am a smart student”

Possession: “I have a first class”. Even if I don’t have a first class, that doesn’t make me any less a student or any less intelligent.

You glory because of your person, not your possession.

And the definition of your person is based on God’s definition.

You don’t define your person yourself. God does.

Doesn’t the manufacturer define what his invention is? Do I argue with Jordan toothbrushes that their product is a toilet-scrubber and not for the mouth?

So your real definition doesn’t come from you – it comes from your Maker.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(John 8:32 CEV)

Person v. Status

Now there is one common mistake that people make in their understanding of humility – they usually confuse their person with their status.

As an example – in a home of newly-weds, the woman gives birth. Breastfeeding follows. In that realm of the home, she is able and allowed to glory, “I can breastfeed this little one”. However, take her away from the realm of her house, to the realm of her street. If she continues to glory that she can breastfeed, the obvious reply she’ll receive is “GET IN LINE!!” Her person didn’t change – she will forever remain a woman, and currently someone who can breastfeed; all that changed were her realms: her status as ‘breast feeder’ didn’t matter outside the realm of her home.

Your person remains constant, irrespective of where you are.

Your status, however, depends on your environment.

This is an unfortunate cause of sin, confusing or replacing our person with our status. It is for this reason that you hear some people vent, “Do you know who I am!?” Usually, such a person is confusing his status with his person. Let me explain further….

In my body, I have a head, and I have legs.

In terms of persons – that is, what they are, they are no different: they are both body parts in need of oxygenated blood.

In terms of status,

  • in the realm of movement, my legs are more important than my head
  • in the realm of processing and staying alive, my head is more important.

On a general status level – my head is more valuable. The members remain the same, but realms change, and thus the statuses vary.

In a company, there is a President, and there is a security guard.

In terms of persons – who they are, they are no different: they’re both humans with basic human rights.

In terms of status,

  • in the realm of providing security, the security guard is more important.
  • in the realm of moving the company forward, the President is more important than the security guard – he has more responsibilities, and his mistakes will have a larger ripple than the mistake of the security guard.

On a general level, the President is more important – the security guard’s job depends on him sef!

“The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.”

(1 Peter 3:7 MSG)

In a family, the husband and the wife are no different – they are both human beings in need of and deserving love, companionship, responsibility, respect, pleasure…the list goes on…

In terms of status, however…well, you know the drill by now… 😀 And obviously, as seen in the passage above, even though each sex has something the other may lack, they are to use it to serve and love the other!

Have a perfect understanding that the only thing which elevates or debases you in a particular environment is the role or status you are called to occupy. Also have a perfect understanding of where the realm of your status starts and ends (a neighbor can’t expect my wife to cook breakfast for him, even though he may also occupy the status of ‘husband’).It is by doing the above that you avoid despising, disrespecting or abusing those either lower or higher than you IN STATUS – for before God, you are the same: spiritually poor people who He shed His blood for and redeemed, and who would have been lost without Him.
(Think on this: in terms of statuses or roles, people are dispensable – they can be replaced. But in terms of persons, NO ONE IS DISPENSABLE.)

© Adeleye Adeolu, 2010, “A Study On Humility”. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article must be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the author’s permission.

p.s. “A Study on ‘Humility’” is a small 20-page e-book, and you can get it free. Just mail me at xltdnc@yahoo.com with the heading “Request for free e-book”, and I’ll send it to you. God bless you!

Don’t forget to share your views and lessons in the comments below!



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