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What does the BIBLE say about Humility
Writer: Alfred Ells, M.C. | bibleresources.org/humility/
"...And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 (NASB)He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?Micah 6 (KJV) verse 8
Perhaps you have heard the story of the parishioner who received recognition for being the humblest man in the church? They gave him a pin to wear. The following Sunday he wore it and they took it away from him for being proud. One wonders sometimes if humility is like this. As soon as we think we are humble, we are not.
Biblically speaking, personal humility carries the notion of lowering or abasing oneself in such a manner as to attain a place of lowliness. Perhaps the best way to understand humility is attempting to see ourselves through God’s eyes rather than our own.
The noted preacher, Charles Spurgeon, defined humility as, "(making) a right estimate of one’s self." Another noted speaker stated that,
"Humility is not denying the power or gifting you have, but admitting that the gifting is from God and the power comes through you and not from you."
After World War II, Winston Churchill humbly commented that, "I was not the lion, but it fell to me to give the lion’s roar."
In the last issue of Counselor’s Corner the focus was on unmasking the hidden pride we all have. To truly repent, or put off pride also requires that we embrace, or put on humility. As James 4:10 (NASB)Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.James 4 (KJV) verse 10 states,
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you."
The following is a list of twelve suggestions I have gleaned from others on how to humble yourself. As you will see, most of them are basics of our Christian faith.
Twelve Ways to Humble Yourself
- Routinely confess your sin to God. (Luke 18:9-14(verse 9) And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
(verse 10) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
(verse 11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
(verse 12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
(verse 13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
(verse 14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.Luke 18 verses 9-14) All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, too few of us have a routine practice of rigorous self-honesty examination. Weekly, even daily, review of our heart and behavior, coupled with confession to God, is an essential practice of humility.
- Acknowledge your sin to others. (James 3:2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body.James 3 verse 2, James 5:16Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5 verse 16) Humility before God is not complete unless there is also humility before man. A true test of our willingness to humble ourselves is being willing to share with others the weaknesses we confess to God. Wisdom, however, dictates that we do so with others that we trust.
- Take wrong patiently. (1 Peter 3:8-17(verse 8) Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:
(verse 9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
(verse 10) For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
(verse 11) Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
(verse 12) For the eyes of the Lord [are] over the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord [is] against them that do evil.
(verse 13) And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
(verse 14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
(verse 15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
(verse 16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
(verse 17) For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.1 Peter 3 verses 8-17) This has been a difficult one for me. When something is unjust I want to react and rectify it. However, patiently responding to the unjust accusations and actions of others demonstrates our strength of godly character and provides an opportunity to put on humility.
- Actively submit to authority...the good and the bad! (1 Peter 2:18Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.1 Peter 2 verse 18) Our culture does not value submission; rather it promotes individualism. How purposely and actively do you work on submission to those whom God has placed as authorities in your life? Doing so is a good way to humble yourself.
- Receive correction and feedback from others graciously. (Proverbs 10:17He [is in] the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.Proverbs 10 verse 17, Proverbs 12:1Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof [is] brutish.Proverbs 12 verse 1) In the Phoenix area, a local East valley pastor was noted for graciously receiving any negative feedback or correction offered. He would simply say "thank you for caring enough to share that with me, I will pray about it and get back to you." Look for the kernel of truth in what people offer you, even if it comes from a dubious source. Always pray, "Lord, what are you trying to show me through this?"
- Accept a lowly place. (Proverbs 25:6-7(verse 6) Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great [men]:
(verse 7) For better [it is] that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.Proverbs 25 verses 6-7) If you find yourself wanting to sit at the head table, wanting others to recognize your contribution or become offended when others are honored or chosen, then pride is present. Purpose to support others being recognized, rather than you. Accept and look for the lowly place; it is the place of humility.
- Purposely associate with people of lower state than you. (Luke 7:36-39(verse 36) And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
(verse 37) And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
(verse 38) And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.
(verse 39) Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.Luke 7 verses 36-39) Jesus was derided by the Pharisees for socializing with the poor and those of lowly state. Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.
- Choose to serve others. (Philippians 1:1Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:Philippians 1 verse 1, 2 Corinthians 4:5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.2 Corinthians 4 verse 5, Matthew 23:11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.Matthew 23 verse 11) When we serve others, we are serving God’s purposes in their lives. Doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God instead of the Kingdom of self. When serving another costs us nothing, we should question whether or not it is really servanthood.
- Be quick to forgive. (Matthew 18:21-35) Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.
- Cultivate a grateful heart. (1 Thessalonians 5:18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.1 Thessalonians 5 verse 18) The more we develop an attitude of gratitude for the gift of salvation and life He has given us, the more true our perspective of self. A grateful heart is a humble heart.
- Purpose to speak well of others. (Ephesians 4:31-32(verse 31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
(verse 32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.Ephesians 4 verses 31-32) Saying negative things about others puts them "one down" and us "one up"...a form of pride. Speaking well of others edifies them and builds them up instead of us. Make sure, however, that what you say is not intended as flattery.
- Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross. (Luke 9:23And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9 verse 23) It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to self and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.
Prayer for humility.
This article was taken from the Counselor's Corner, Volume II, Issue 12, published by Counselor's Corner.
E-mail Al at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or write to: Alfred H. Ells, M.C., Counselor's Corner, 2855 East Brown Road, Suite 3, Mesa, Arizona 85213, U.S.A. Phone:(480) 325-9350.