The question came up today, “What is humility? Does it mean saying that things are all my fault, and thus I need to do something to fix the situation?”
I think it is encapsulated in the concept of taking full responsibility under the authority of God.
At the Fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam threw off responsibility and blamed Eve for giving him the fruit to eat. Later in Romans, God makes it clear that he places great responsibility on Adam’s shoulders – “For as by one sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” Later in that same passage (Romans 5) it clearly states that the first Adam is the one responsible for sin and death entering the world and being passed on to all of us.
The passage also points to the second Adam, Jesus Christ, who placed Himself under God the Father’s authority and perfectly obeyed all that He commanded, then took on the full responsibility for our sin by going through death on the cross and separation from His Father.
To me, the true definition of humility is summed up by Jesus as He prays in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. However, not My will but Your will be done.”
As a husband and father I am responsible to God for the training and spiritual nourishment of my wife and children. As a Christian, I am under the authority of Christ as my head, and He is under the authority of God the Father as His head. I am to love my wife “as Christ loves the church.” That includes “dying” for her – meaning, giving up the things I might consider my rights (respect, ease, riches, glory, whatever) in order to care for my wife in whatever way God calls me to.