Identity and Humility

I recently came across a beautiful poem that I would love to share with you:

IF – Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


This powerful poem brought to mind two key constructs  – Identity and humility, and by humility, I mean a real and intent filled preference for the will of God

By myself I cannot simply be all that this beautiful poem embodies. I personally do not think anyone can attain to it

I look at the essence of the poem and the only way I can get there is through Christ, through my identity being rooted in Christ’s sacrifice for me. Why? Because the essence of “If” points to an identity that is firm and not tossed to and fro by the whims of life.

Without the right identity, “If” is simply a collection of noble words that rings hollow, just like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal

When I start grasping (which implies more than head knowledge) what Christ has so graciously done for me, I start becoming the type of person who wears this world loosely and carries myself lightly  i.e. I start morphing into Christlikeness.

Essentially, I become the one who denies himself, picks up his cross and follow Christ. And what is this posture if not that of humility?

Therefore, the leanings of my identity is a foundation for the posture of my heart, which is an expression on the continuum of pride and humility.

“If” reminds me of my desperate need for Christ, and calls me to redefine what I value and esteem. I am reminded that perhaps the success metrics I employ are deeply flawed.

Instead I am nudged to make Christ my ultimate treasure! So help me Abba

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up…Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Identity and Humility

3 thoughts on “Identity and Humility

  1. Bonnie, of the campfire chorus says:

    This poem has always resonated with me but your comments beautifully explain why. I also feel a gentle nudging of the Lord, “Follow me” and my heart cries with you, “Help me Abba”.

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