“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself...”
- Acts 20:24
Humility towards God and people is essential to the Christian faith. The apostle Paul's life was marked by humility and self-awareness.
Paul's humility is most clearly seen in his own self-appraisal.
Paul was born again on the road to Damascus. As he begins to familiarize himself with Jesus and those in the faith, Pual writes to the Corinthians in AD55 and calls himself “the least of the apostles unworthy to be called an apostle because [he] persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. 15:9).
Continuing in his walk, growing closer to God and prominence in the Church, Paul writes to the Ephesians five years later and refers to himself as the very least of all the saints (Eph. 3:8).
Sometime later, at the height of his notoriety, renown, and standing, Paul calls himself the foremost sinner (1 Tim. 1:15).
And then, at the end of his life, never more known and closer to God, Paul tells Timothy to come quickly because his life is ending, a life that is nothing more than a drink offering to God (2 Tim. 4:6). If you know anything about temple offerings, you know that a drink offering is the lowest form of offering, reserved for the poorest of poor.
Think about Paul's spiritual progression and keen self-awareness: a proud, self-righteous Pharisee to the foremost of sinners. Only a person of genuine humility would describe himself in such terms.
From where did Paul's self-awareness come? Paul knew that the closer he got to God, the more he needed God. The closer he got to the light of Christ, the more he saw his sin and corruption. Paul had genuinely tasted grace, which made him thirst and hunger for grace all of his days.
In light of God's grace, where do you see yourself today? A spiritual giant, do you believe that you have arrived? Or, like Paul, are you so close to God, seeing Him for who He is, that you realize your enormous need for God?
A true spiritual giant knows that he stands as an impoverished dwarf before God.