Would you say that you are a humble person? I think people in general, will easily say that they are humble, as opposed to being prideful. Isn’t it strange but also human that we think the best of ourselves and are also so blind to our own faults or shortcomings? I guess it is the innate human and selfish nature inside all of us.
Humility is not a characteristic that is advocated in today’s society. The global message is one of self-elevation, success no matter the cost, and being above the rest. Bigger, smarter, faster, and richer. Being cunning or ruthless is permissible if you do it for your own benefit and gain. Competition and comparison are fierce. The survival of the fittest, the most powerful, and the most affluent of people are the order of the day. Humility is the total opposite.
The definition of humility is: not having or showing any feelings of superiority, self-assertiveness, or showiness. It is being down-to-earth, meek, unpretentious, modest, or unassuming.
Jesus is that image of true humility. Firstly, He humbled Himself to become God in the flesh. Furthermore, He saw value in all people, not distinguishing between any class or status. He associated with and had friendships with fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers. He treated people with kindness and compassion. He wasn’t afraid or ashamed to be the least and to serve others. Paul encourages the church to follow Jesus’ example.
Philippians 2:4-7 AMP “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].”
I believe humility is an essential character trait of a child of God. I believe our desire to be humble, is a daily quest because pride is one of those subtle sins that creep-up on us. If we do not check ourselves and our motives, before we know it, we are judging others or justifying our own selfish actions. We begin to make absolute statements like: “I will never do that.” We should be careful and aware that it is only by God’s grace and nothing else. We are all fallible and fall into sin. No one is better than anyone else. God is the only One Who can judge and He hates pride.
Proverbs 6:16-17a TPT “There are six evils God truly hates and a seventh that is an abomination to him: Putting others down while considering yourself superior…”
According to the website Bible Study Tools, pride is ”a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in conduct. Whether craving compliments, fearing our own image or entertaining an overly critical view of ourselves, pride can be both glaringly obvious and deceptively sneaky”.
I think that is one of the reasons why Solomon writes in Proverbs 4 that we must guard our hearts ABOVE ALL ELSE because it is the well-spring of life from which all motives and behavior flow.
Pride puts the self or ”I” at the center of it all. I know better, I am better, I do better than, etc. We easily become self-efficient, self-reliant, self-serving, or self-sufficient. We do not fully trust God, we question His ways, and try and control all aspects of our lives. But, God is the only Superior.
Pride was at the root of the beginning of evil. Filled with pride because of his beauty and splendor as an angel, Satan thought himself to be higher than his Creator. Pride was the start of his evil, and he was subsequently thrown out of Heaven. Pride was the beginning of his downfall. We know that he still tries to fill our hearts with the importance of ourselves. That was the root of the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, which lead to the fall of mankind.
Pride also shifts the focus from others to ourselves. We credit our accomplishments to ourselves and not as gifts from God or the Holy Spirit working through us. Pride goes against the most important commandment. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love others as yourself. Pride says what we want is more important than God and we are more important than other people. That is why there are discrimination, segregation, and racism in the world. Humility is about loving and serving others.
Have you ever thought that God may be keeping you away from a certain position, or accomplishment because He is building humility into your character? It is His preparation so He can obtain the full glory and remain on the throne of your heart. That was the purpose of the Israelites’ 40-year journey through the wilderness. Pride, unbelief, and complaining prolonged their journey by 39 years!
Deuteronomy 8:2 AMP “And you shall remember [always] all the ways which the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart (mind), whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” – Ezra Taft Benson
Humble people are teachable people who are open to opportunities that help them grow or mature. Humility develops wisdom and level-headedness. Humble people are not afraid to not have all the answers, knowledge, fame, or acknowledgment. They remember where they came from and trust God to take them where He wants them in the future, even if the road is unknown.
Psalm 25:9 ESV “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”
The Bible states in Numbers 12 that Moses was the most humble person on the earth during that time. Coming from an upbringing and background of privilege, royalty, and the best education, God could not use him for all He planned. An essential criterion for God was humility. Moses had to learn humility. God’s purpose for the Israelites’ exodus was not to take them to a promised land but to take them to Mount Sinai to meet with God and worship Him. They were captives for more than 400 years and did not know God, but were surrounded by numerous pagan gods or idols. God wanted to be their only God and make them His people. Moses would have made a mess of the exodus of his people if he did not learn humility and dependence on God. It took 40 years for Moses to learn humility while living in the wilderness and tending sheep. Do you feel some things God calls you to do are beneath you? Humility implies that you choose to be the lowest and least significant for others, God and His purpose. Joseph was for example a slave and prisoner for many years before he became prime minister of Egypt.
Romans 12:16 TPT “Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mind-set, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble minded. Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all.”
Proverbs 11:2 AMP “When pride comes [boiling up with an arrogant attitude of self-importance], then come dishonor and shame, But with the humble [the teachable who have been chiseled by trial and who have learned to walk humbly with God] there is wisdom and soundness of mind.”
Because Moses developed a humble spirit he could learn from God and follow God to lead millions of people. He did not seek the glory but knew that it was God’s work through Him only. It was not himself being so amazing or gifted. He was a servant in God’s hands. As a humble man, he had a truly special relationship with God. God spoke to him directly in person.
James 4:10 AMP “Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].”
If you are humble, God can use you greatly. When you are prideful or arrogant, you get in God’s way. God says in His Word that He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Those are strong words. When we are prideful, we have selfish motives and God can not shine through us. I for one do not want to be resisted by God, but needs His grace daily. God promises to humble the proud. Just think of Goliath and king Nebuchadnezzar as examples. Humble yourself now, for you will be humbled eventually by God.
Matthew 23:12 TPT ”Remember this: If you have a lofty opinion of yourself and seek to be honored, you will be humbled. But if you have a modest opinion of yourself and choose to humble yourself, you will be honored.”
Proverbs 16:18 TPT ”Your boast becomes a prophecy of a future failure. The higher you lift up yourself in pride, the harder you’ll fall in disgrace.”
Psalms 149:4 NIV ”For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”
Due to the fact that pride can be such a blind spot, which grows into other sins such as violence, slander, envy, hate, hypocrisy, etc., we need the help of the Holy Spirit. Christians can easily fall in the trap of pride, and superiority when we deal with unbelievers, new Christians, or even different denominations.
That was the Pharisees’ problem. They thought they were superior, which meant that their spiritual eyes and ears were not open to receive the Gospel and recognize Jesus as the Son of God. They missed the essence of real ministry, servanthood, and God’s kingdom.
If we choose to live a life that imitates Christ, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and motives. This post was not intended to make you and I aware of other people’s faults and pride. Rather, to focus our attention on our own areas of pride. Do not point your finger in judgment towards others, but point at your own thoughts, intentions, and actions. Then, do not be afraid to acknowledge any unpure motives and ask for forgiveness from God and people. That is the first step to humility.
Where there is less of ourselves and our self-importance, there can be more of God.
Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will guide us and teach us to be humble like Jesus was. Show us where we can serve and help others. Give us grateful hearts for any opportunity to be Your hands and feet. Please make us aware of any biases or judgments we have against others. Lord, we want to confess that our motives are not always pure. Please make us aware of these, so we can align our hearts with Yours. Help us to fix our thoughts on what is pure and true. We lay selfish agendas at your feet. We recommit our lives to you as children who long the best for others. Help us to speak Your truth with love and wisdom. Open our eyes to Your grace and all you bestow upon us. Not for our own gain or glory, but for Your’s alone. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
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