Humility is a very tricky thing. Our society today would have us to believe that we should always look out for ourselves and to take pride in what we do and what we have. Teachers of young children and parents do everything they can to build up a child’s self-esteem, knowing that they will need to think well of themselves if they are to succeed in the future. But the tricky thing is when does thinking highly of oneself become too much?
The Bible teaches us that we are to be humble. We see many instances in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament where God values humility and disciplines the prideful. Listen to these verses: 2 Samuel 22:28—You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty (prideful) to bring them low. 2 Chronicles 12:12—Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him. Psalm 147:6—The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Proverbs 3:34— He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.Luke 14:11— For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Verse after verse tells us that God will bless those who have humility, and to those who do not, he will bring them down. You would think we would get it after God’s repeated warnings!
The problem with humility is that the world is constantly pulling you in the opposite direction. People will praise you about how great you are, how wonderful you did on this particular project, or how great your clothes always look on you. When you try to be humble about it, they tell you, “oh, stop being modest, you know I’m telling the truth.” Because we’ve been conditioned to be so dependent on the praises of others, we allow it, and even secretly encourage it. It’s to the point that when we don’t get the praises, we wonder if we’ve done something wrong—or worse, we begin to feel worthless.
James 4:10 says, Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. We shouldn’t always look to others for their praise. God will lift us up when we practice humility. There was no greater example of this than Jesus. He was constantly praised for the acts he performed, but he never allowed it to change his demeanor. He very well could have been prideful for who He was and the power that He had, but He never did.
So if Jesus, who was indeed the greatest man who will ever walk the face of the earth, practiced humility, why shouldn’t we? It may begin with being willing to deflect the credit for something you’ve done or remaining silent about an award you’ve been given. Whatever the situation, through the Holy Spirit you will recognize those times when the negativity of pride and arrogance may begin to show themselves in your life, and it is during those times when you should be careful to instead practice humility. Yield to the Holy Spirit’s direction, rid yourself of pride and selfish ambition and watch God transform you into a beautiful picture of His humble servant.