Akin Reminds Students that Humility Is the Way Up, Not Down
Chad Burchett | January 18, 2024
Southeastern Seminary and The College at Southeastern welcomed students back on campus today for spring convocation and the first day of classes. During his convocation message, President Danny Akin charged students, staff, and faculty to pursue a lifestyle of Christ-like humility as they make disciples of Jesus.
Welcoming new students to campus, Mark Liederbach, dean of students at Southeastern, reminded attendees of Southeastern’s foundational commitments and of the biblical passages that uniquely communicate the theme and mission of the institution.
“The Bible serves for us as the single highest authority for all that we do and teach,” Liederbach commented as he read from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “It is our highest task here to come under its authority, teach it with clarity, conform our lives to its loving instruction, and happily tell others the message that we find in it.”
Flowing from this commitment to the authority of God’s word and the priority of sharing it with others, Southeastern’s mission is to equip students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. That is why Southeastern strives to make every classroom a Great Commission classroom, challenging both new students and returning students to be devoted to the task of making disciples who make disciples.
Encouraging attendees to pursue this mission with humility, Akin preached expositionally through 1 Peter 5:5-14, commending a lifestyle of humility and dependence on God.
“I believe one of the most important identifying marks of a Christian is the mark of humility,” noted Akin. “In fact, the Bible tells us that it is at the very heart of what it means to have the mind of Christ.”
I believe one of the most important identifying marks of a Christian is the mark of humility.
Imitating the humility of Christ, as Akin explained, fuels patience and empathy toward others while also promoting godly submission to authority and unity with one another. In this way, humility transforms a person’s horizontal relationships.
Humility, however, should also characterize a person’s vertical relationship with God. That is why Akin noted in 1 Peter 5:6-7 that the call to Christ-like humility is not only a call to humility with one another but also a call to humility with God.
Akin, reminded students that self-promotion is contrary to God’s purposes with his people and that God chooses to exalt those who practice contentment and humility before him — not those who are self-sufficient or restless to climb the ladder of success.
“Be patient and wait on the Lord to exalt you,” Akin remarked. “Don’t try to manipulate the process. … Strive to be like Paul, who, while in prison, would say in Philippians, ‘I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.’ When you find that ability to be content in whatever circumstance, then he — in his time — will raise you up.”
For Akin, what underlies this call to pursue humility is the invitation to stand firmly in the grace of God. The work of humility in the Christian’s heart is not something to be mustered on one’s own but rather a disposition to be empowered and enabled by God’s grace. After all, it is God’s grace that grants the Christian strength to serve in humility, to suffer in humility, and to withstand in humility the spiritual attacks that threaten the Christian’s dependence on God.
“Where should we stand as we seek to fulfill our ministry that God has given us?” Akin asked attendees. “We stand in God’s grace. As we encounter suffering, we stand in God’s grace. When the evil one comes against us, we stand in God’s grace because in God’s grace we find every strength and sufficiency we will ever need to be victorious in our service to King Jesus.”
In God’s grace we find every strength and sufficiency we will ever need to be victorious in our service to King Jesus.