Humility in a “Selfie” World

It is amazing to see how our technological world is changing year by year. I was speaking with someone recently about the fact that when I was in college, cell phones were not an option. Yet now, not even twenty years afterGUWG-Humility graduation, we don’t even have a land-line phone in our home. In college, the internet was still in its infancy, whereas today who can imagine life without it? Technology is a great blessing, with its portability, speed, links to worldwide information in a virtual instantaneous fashion, and so many other things. I would guess, though, it is still to be determined as to whether or not blogging is part of that blessing (I say with the proverbial tongue in cheek).

Today, we are in the midst of a technological phenomenon known as taking “selfies.” This is when an individual takes a photograph of him/herself and posts it on the internet (facebook, instagram, etc). The photos usually do not seem to serve a real purpose, other than to put one’s picture out for all to see. I could speculate as to motivations for doing this, but I will refrain. Young people are particularly adept at this, holding their cell phone/camera at arm’s length, or towards a mirror and snapping a “selfie” in some kind of pose.

First Peter 5:5 says to believers, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'” This verse creates a picture that as Christians we are to wrap ourselves up in the garment of humility, so that it is what characterizes us, because God is in opposition to pride. He always has been and always will be. However, grace – God’s divine favor – is always extended to the humble person.

In light of the biblical virtue of humility, I would like to challenge the practice of taking “selfies.” Humility is not thinking lowly of yourself; it is not giving any thought to yourself or wanting any glory given to yourself at all because of your love for God and love for others. Humility does not seek its own advancement, its own pleasure, or its own attention. Humility attempts to deflect attention away and place it on others, and particularly on the One who is worthy of all glory, God himself. “Selfies” do not seem to fit with the biblical ethic of humility, but rather of pride. If God has blessed individuals with a certain level of physical beauty, it is not that person’s right to call everyone else’s attention to it.

Humility has been referred to as the queen of virtues, and is always honored by the Lord. When men humble themselves, there is great blessing. However, when men seek to puff themselves up, or garner attention to themselves for various reasons and away from God, there is opposition and consequences.

Humility must be cultivated, for we are not naturally humble people. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was “meek and lowly of heart” and this characteristic is something that the Spirit desires to produce in us to make us more like our Savior. Cultivate humility in a “selfie” world. As God’s people, let’s seek to draw attention away from ourselves, and point people to our great God.

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