What does being humble mean to you? I’ve really had to examine the word. Actually, I’ve had to experience the meaning and purpose of the actions that define humility.
The Bible tells us that God resists the proud and bestows grace on the humble. Yet we live in a world that pushes us to live in the opposite manner.
Social media, advertisements, television, radio, our culture, our prideful self…we live in a “me first, I’m entitled society” that runs in opposition to what God commands.
Even the definition of humble makes us want to run in the other direction: low or inferior in station or quality, of low birth station, cause to feel shame, and having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance, of low social, administrative, or political rank.
Consider the opposite of humility.
Prideful: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Everything we chase in this world leads us to desire to be prideful.
Ephesians 4:2 tells us, “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
It’s easy to tell myself I live that way. But I can think of times I don’t show it. If my actions don’t consistently show it, I’m not really living it.
The ability to live humbly isn’t something that comes naturally. Restraint is required to live in submission to God and others.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
I’ve been blessed to receive visuals in my life that have helped me better experience and submit to God in this area. My daughters have special qualities that I pray I can nurture and allow God to bless. One daughter has a gentle and quiet spirit that has always submitted to others.
For years she has held doors for strangers, without thanks. She allows others to go before us in lines. She gives others the benefit of the doubt. She doesn’t gossip. She shows respect to others.
She humbles herself.
Through conversations with her and observances of her, I know she is not doing these things because of low self-esteem, which our society leads us to believe. These acts of kindness for others are done because she is called to complete them.
She is working to base her esteem on His value of her and others.
My other daughter selflessly offers her best to others. If you are cold, she offers her blanket. If you are hungry, she gives you her food. If you are afraid, she comforts you. Her keen observance skills are always focused on others so that she may serve where she is needed.
Life has not hardened her, although she has lived without.
Instead, she focuses on humbling herself so that others may be lifted up.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When we lift up others before ourselves, we submit to the One who will carry us.
It begins with each of us growing the desire to live humbly and to teach it to our children, grandchildren, or children under our influence. Then we extend the results of our humility to our family and friends, and the strangers we meet.
Humility is part of being aware that we don’t want to be the person we were yesterday.
Over time we will change our instincts and actions to live what we know to be true. Only flowing waters can change the course of nature. Our actions cause reactions that will be blessed by the One who commands them.
“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7