Humility: What is it?

I had a good conversation with a dear friend and mentor yesterday by voice and text about the need for humility in the life and thinking of believers.

It would almost seem an obvious requirement for a disciple of Jesus Christ but it remains for many an elusive quality that we are often blind to our deficiencies in due to the cunning guises with which pride deceives us regarding our need. With this in mind, I’m going to blog about humility for a while to help us be the humble people God calls us to be.

What we mean by humility

Humility can refer to ones social or economic state but that is not the way we are using the term here. For us, we are talking about a Christian virtue which shines through all of life in our thoughts, speech and works all issuing from an awareness and attitude rooted in gratitude toward God and an honest, biblical view of ourselves and the world around us.

Jesus was humble

One of the most relevant scriptures to think on when considering what it means to be humble as a Christian is the passage in Philipians about the humility of Jesus

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3–8, ESV)

What the dictionary says

There are a lot of dictionaries to choose from. I’ve chosen an easy to use Theological Dictionary. I’ve taken two qoutes from the Tyndale Bible Dictionary which I think are good fuel for us when meditating on what humility is and what it means to be humble.

Humility is a grateful and spontaneous awareness that life is a gift, and it is manifested as an ungrudging and unhypocritical acknowledgement of absolute dependence upon God.

So the first thing we learn is that humility has something to do with the way we see God, ourselves and others. One of the issues we have as humans is that in our minds we often switch our role with God’s role.

The article ends as follows:

Turning their backs on status, security, and success, Christians seek an opportunity to gain themselves in serving others.

This final point highlights the fact that true humility will manifest itself in ungrudging, joyful service to others as we seek to follow Jesus.

The Humble Life

It seems clear from our very brief exploration, that humility is a principle that will affect our entire lives and is the vehicle or channel used to live a life governed by the love of God, which itself calls us to serve one another and even care for our enemies. It leaves no room for pride, conceit or our natural negative perspectives, which seek to put us above everyone else and ignore our dependence on God and others.

Some questions for you to think about and possibly comment on below if you want to share your thoughts:

  1. What does humility look like for you as a beliver?
  2. How is your attempt to walk in humility challenged and how do you seek to overcome those challenges?

Let’s resolve to walk in humility for 2018.

2 thoughts on “Humility: What is it?

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