“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror cause I get better looking each day!” – Mac Davis
The Bible teaches humility as an essential character trait. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love – Ephesians 4:1-2
Humility is often characterized as genuine gratitude and a lack of arrogance, or a modest view of one’s self. However, the biblical definition of humility goes beyond this. Humility is a critical and continuous emphasis of godliness, as we are called upon to be followers of Jesus and trust in the wisdom and character of God. Humility is being a servant to the Lord and to others, just as the life of Jesus here on earth.
This is difficult, but not for the most apparent reasons. It could be difficult due to arrogance, over confidence or control issues. But I believe humility is often difficult due to insecurity. It is difficult to be humble when self-image is so fragile that one tap of sacrifice can effectively crumble the whole tower of self. Self has become so battered by life, belittled so often, or accused of being wrong so many times, that being wrong, being less, or making a mistake can no longer be embraced without tragic personal consequence. Asking for forgiveness cannot be done, because an admission of guilt would crush the spirit. Going another’s way cannot be tolerated because it would be interpreted as a failure to the way self endorses. Putting another first is so difficult because it feels as though one has always existed at the back of the line. Ego is so tender that it cannot endure being ‘punked’ by one more person.
Thus the key to living humbly is a clear understanding of where we stand with God. It is not who we see in the mirror, but who God sees and God’s evaluation of that person in the mirror. We, as followers of Christ, are founded on the fact that God so loved the world that He gave his only Son. But the truth of God’s love needs to sink deep into our personal lives. We must believe that God adores us and that we are the apple of God’s eye. We must be sure that we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. If the love of God can be the source of our self-esteem, then humility can live in us with ease.
Service is not an assault on my self-image when I know that God has first served me. I can ask for forgiveness because my faults have been covered by the love of God. I can take risks of failure because I know that my failures do not define me. God defines me. I can allow another to cut in front of me, for I know that God has me in the front of His line. I can be gentle and patient and kind because God shows me those qualities every day. I can be humble, for a humble Savior serves me with sufficient affirmation.
We should strive to be humble by embracing the love of God and allowing that love to be the affirmation of our soul and the verification of our worth.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. – John 15:9