True Humility

Humility tops the list of the virtues to be sought by God’s children. Jesus places it first on the list of blessed attitudes He endorses. The first beatitude begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

True humility is often an elusive quality. For most of us, becoming more humble is one of life’s most difficult challenges. We spend our lives endeavoring to more fully learn what it means to walk humbly with God. Tragically, the moment we conclude that we have “arrived” is the very moment we cease to walk in humility. One author jokingly conveyed this notion when he proposed, as the title for his book on humility, the following: Humility, And How I Attained It.

Humility is also misunderstood. On the one hand, truly humble people are easily misused or abused. They will seldom complain or demand their rights. On the other hand, feigned humility can be used as an excuse for non-involvement in ministry. Have you ever heard the response one brother made, when asked to help with a good work? It was along these lines: “Oh, I’m just one of the humble members around here. You should ask brother So-and-so. He’ll probably do it.”

Indeed, humility is often misunderstood; and growth in humility is very challenging. Still, Jesus promises a blessing to those who are truly humble. Therefore, we should all seek to learn to walk more humbly with the Lord. To help shed some light on the subject, the following characteristics of a humble person are suggested. A truly humble Christian is:

Honest: The humble person knows his or her God-given talents and limitations. She is aware of both her strengths and her weaknesses. She admits to failure as readily as claiming success. She is aware that it is only by the grace of God that she is what she is and will become what she hopes to be.

Unpretentious: The humble person is a sincere servant of God. Whatever he does, he works with all of his heart for the Lord, not for men. He seeks only to serve, not to be seen. His heart’s delight is to hear others praise the Father in heaven.

Manageable: The humble person has taken to herself the “yoke of Christ.” She remains teachable. She is growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God, the Master Potter, is constantly shaping her life. So, she remains soft and pliable and is continually being conformed to the image of God’s Son.

Bold: The humble person knows that serving God means he must dare to travel the road less taken. Because he marches for the Master, he must forge ahead when others shrink back. He also knows that standing with God often involves standing against those who oppose the will of God. He understands that a Christian must stand for something or he will fall for almost anything.

Loving: The humble person is one from whom others continually hear of God’s love. Love is in her heart, because the cross of Christ is always on her mind. She knows what it is to be loved, so her life is an expression of God’s love. She walks in love. Yes, she boldly stands with and for God; but she lovingly encourages others to do the same. She lives to show others God’s love.

Enthusiastic: The humble person remembers that someone once said that enthusiasm has a literal meaning of “God within.” He believes it! He is, literally speaking, an eternal optimist, always pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He is known for reminding others that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” When the doubters seek to throw cold water on great plans for the Lord, his response is: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Even when things look bleak and gloomy, he or she draws strength from God within and remains fervent in spirit.

Perhaps we all should ask: “Am I truly a humble follower of Jesus?”

© Bill Williams

June 19, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Discipleship Training, Following Jesus, Life, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to True Humility

  1. Amy says:

    Hey, did you come up with that? A great acrostic, if that’s the word for it…

    I’ve been reading Phillipians here lately and your post really goes along with the theme of humility in there. You’re right humility is an elusive quality. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Hello, Amy. Acrostic is the right word. I can’t claim originality with respect to the idea. I saw something like this several years ago. The thoughts are original, though.

    Your observations re: the elusive quality of humility seem to be right on target. Four letters got me thinking about this: IMHO. You know: In My HUMBLE opinion? This acronym has always intrigued me. Does it cease to be a humble opinion the moment we characterize it as such? I don’t know. What do think? Anybody have an opinion?

  3. Jennifer says:

    All I can say is, “OUCH!”

    Humbly His, (at least I hope so!)

  4. You are HIS, unquestionably so!

    God bless you! -bill

  5. Rachel says:

    This brought to mind the words of a song illustrating humility is only achieved by God “in” us. The lines of the chorus are as follows: “I don’t need to try to be the flawless example lifted up for everyone to see. I don’t need to stand and shout it…”Hey, I’ve got the answer!”, if Your Presence is living in me. I don’t need to talk about it in a church committee for the world to know it’s true. All I need to do is just be me being in love with You.” God will do the work in us if we are willing to submit ourselves to His will.

  6. That’s rich, Rachel! Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a blessed day. -bill

  7. dojo says:

    Humility is truly the hardest thing to obtain. Mostly because you can’t really get it without letting go…..I don’t know why I like to hold on so tight!

  8. Mike Ratliff says:

    Humility is the opposite of our natural character which is rooted in pride. I am convinced that no one can make themselves humble without God’s help. He enables us to walk in humility, denying self and carrying our cross yoked up with Christ by His grace. Christ’s joy is our strength to do this. We must value that joy above anything the world has to offer as we walk by faith and run the race that is set before us with our eyes firmly fixed on Christ.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. Bill says:

    Great thoughts, Donna and Mike! Put your comments together and I think it spells: Let go and let God. As Amy mentioned above, Philippians, especially 2:5ff, gives us great insight into the discussion of humility. All of your comments have caused my thoughts to be drawn to Zechariah 4:6b, “…Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Thanks. I feel like I’m really being sharpened today!

    Grace to each of you,

  10. nan says:

    Life experiences have made me more humble than I use to be. But I still am not as humble as I should be for my Lord. He was my Savior and I know that, but once in awhile I am apt to take the credit when it is not my due.

    Thanks so much for the comments Bill. You are truly an inspiration.

  11. Pingback: Possessing the Treasure » Humility

  12. bruisedreed says:

    Excellent article! The acrostic you used was filled with truth and would spur any true believer on to good works. This one is worth keeping for sure! Thank you!!

  13. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words, bruisedreed!

    There is no other way of saying it, Mike: I am humbled by your link to this article. Blessings to you and yours, -bill

  14. spurgeon says:

    “Every time we look to the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”

    – John Stott, The Message of Galatians, p. 179.

  15. Wow, Tony! This is sobering, indeed. Stott’s work usually is, though. Thanks for adding this to the discussion.

    I spent a few minutes on your blog earlier. You’ve done a great job. Lord willing, I’ll be back often. I’ve added you to my blogroll and hope others will click through as well.

    Grace to you and yours,

  16. Emily says:

    A very insightful and challenging post Bill, thank you! The qualities you listed as being those of a truly humble Christian definitely helps define what true humility is, and therefore aids all of us who are seeking it to know what we’re aiming for. Humility certainly does not come natural to me, but by God’s grace, my pride is slowly being hammered away (a painful but worthwhile process!)


  17. Peter Aruwa says:

    I really want to be humble and your message helped me in the study of humility. God bless you real good.
    Peter, Nigeria.

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