Humility, what a precious treasure in our culture. People define and hold humility in a variety of ways. In my life, humility is the recognition that I am not God. It is a reminder to not think too highly of myself and to not be independent of God. It reminds me to respectfully give Him the control and to surrender to His will.
Solomon, who has been called one of the wisest men, talks a lot about humility in the book of Proverbs :
Pride leads to disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
True humility and fear of the Lord
lead to riches, honor, and long life.
Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom;
humility precedes honor.
I am almost certain that nobody is born with humility and we don’t come by it naturally. We, as humans, are naturally proud. We want to be in control, independent, and above others. We strive to “be the best” and “make it to the top.” We naturally want to think highly of ourselves and work hard for others to do the same. There is also an inversion of pride, which some confuse with humility. It is a version of self-hatred or self-abasement. We put ourselves so low, below everyone else, as if we have no value at all. We allow others to trample us and call it humility. We live with no boundaries and think that is what humility looks like. It can sometimes even show itself in an attitude of feeling unworthy of God’s grace, redemption, and even blessings.
In my experience true humility is birthed in surrender. It comes from moments in time where you recognize that you are absolutely powerless in a situation, relationship, or circumstance. It is birthed in the moment where you realize, “There has to be someone bigger, smarter, and more powerful than me controlling all of this and right now is the moment I need Him to act on my behalf!” In some ways it is a character that can be developed through continuous moments of surrender.
Humility is not just an expression of loving God, it also about loving people:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Humility is not something you can find on the shelf of the average superstore. You find it in the quiet moments of your heart where you chose to respectfully let God be in the driver’s seat of your life. You find it by thinking of someone else first and considering their needs. You find it by continuously choosing to be dependent on His will and His way instead of yours. You find it by investing in and building others up and helping them succeed. You find it by reminding yourself that you are not God, someone else already has that position. You find it by gentle and respectful compromise with the people around you. You find it by letting Him have the applause, the credit, and the accolades for the good things that are produced in your life. You find it through simple acts of loving service to others.
I’m still on this search to try to find and develop humility in my life and find it a very difficult journey. I wonder…where you are in your search for Humility? What experiences have led you to find it?