Humility is a characteristic that has been celebrated for centuries. It is often described as a virtue, a quality that is essential to living a fulfilling life. As Christians, we are called to live a life of humility, putting others before ourselves and recognizing our need for God’s grace. In this blog post, we will explore what the Bible says about humility, its benefits, and how we can cultivate it in our lives.
Throughout the Bible, we find examples of humble people who lived their lives in obedience to God. Moses, Abraham, and David are just a few examples of people who demonstrated humility and were blessed by God. Jesus and the apostle Paul also taught about the importance of humility and demonstrated it through their lives and teachings.
Humility is not just a theoretical concept; it is something that we can cultivate in our daily lives. By recognizing our weaknesses and limitations, serving others, and trusting in God, we can become humble servants of God. In doing so, we can experience the benefits of humility, such as wisdom and guidance from God, unity in relationships, and exaltation by God. Let us dive deeper into what the Bible says about humility and how we can cultivate this important quality in our lives.
Definition of Humility
Humility is the quality of being humble, modest, and having a lowly opinion of oneself. Humility involves acknowledging our limitations and weaknesses and recognizing our need for God’s help.
The Bible tells us in James 4:6, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” When we humble ourselves before God, He gives us grace and empowers us to live a life that honors Him.
Humility in the Old Testament
The Old Testament contains many examples of humble people who lived their lives in obedience to God. Here are some of the notable examples:
Moses is considered one of the most humble men in the Bible. In Numbers 12:3, it says, “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” Despite being a great leader and receiving many blessings from God, Moses remained humble and submitted to God’s will.
Moses’ humility is illustrated in Exodus 33:12-17 when he pleaded with God to show him His ways. Moses acknowledged his need for God’s help and guidance, saying, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses recognized that he could not lead the Israelites on his own, and he depended on God to guide him.
Abraham is another example of a humble servant of God. In Genesis 18:27, Abraham says to God, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord.” Abraham recognized his unworthiness before God and acknowledged that he was just a mere mortal.
Abraham’s humility is demonstrated in Genesis 22 when he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command. Abraham trusted in God’s goodness and obeyed Him even though it was a difficult and painful decision.
David, despite being a great king of Israel, recognized his need for God’s help and guidance. In Psalm 131:1-2, David writes, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” David acknowledges that he does not have all the answers and trusts in God’s wisdom.
David’s humility is illustrated in 1 Chronicles 17 when he wanted to build a temple for God but was told that his son Solomon would build it instead. David did not complain or become bitter but instead praised God and prayed for his son’s success.
Humility in the New Testament
Jesus and the apostle Paul are two prominent figures in the New Testament who taught about the importance of humility.
Jesus’ Teachings on Humility
Jesus demonstrated humility through his life and teachings. In John 13:14-15, Jesus says, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” Jesus humbled himself by washing his disciples’ feet, a task that was reserved for servants.
In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus teaches about the dangers of pride and the importance of humility. The Pharisee boasted about his good deeds and thought he was better than the tax collector. In contrast, the tax collector recognized his sinfulness and humbly asked for God’s mercy.
Jesus also teaches about humility in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be “poor in spirit” means to recognize our spiritual poverty and our need for God’s grace. When we humble ourselves before God, we become part of His kingdom and experience His blessings.
Paul’s Teachings on Humility
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, teaches about the importance of humility. In Philippians 2:3-4, he writes, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.” Paul emphasizes that Christians should put others’ needs before their own and consider others more important than themselves.
Paul also encourages Christians to imitate the humility of Christ in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus’ humility led Him to sacrifice Himself for our salvation, and we should follow His example.
Benefits of Humility
Humility brings many benefits to our lives. Here are a few:
- Exaltation by God: James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” When we humble ourselves before God, he exalts us and blesses us.
- Wisdom and Guidance from God: Psalm 25:9 says, “He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way.” When we approach God with humility, He guides us and shows us His way.
- Unity in Relationships: Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Humility fosters healthy relationships and promotes unity among people.
How to Cultivate Humility
Humility is not something that comes naturally to us. It is a quality that we need to cultivate intentionally in our lives. Here are some ways to cultivate humility:
Recognizing and Admitting Weaknesses
Acknowledging our weaknesses and limitations is the first step in cultivating humility. When we recognize that we are not perfect and that we need God’s help, we become humble. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.” A contrite heart is a humble heart.
Serving others is a practical way to cultivate humility. When we serve others, we put their needs before our own and consider them more important than ourselves. Jesus, in Matthew 20:28, says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus humbled himself by serving others, and we should follow his example.
We can serve others by volunteering at our church or local community, giving to those in need, and being available to help our friends and family. Serving others helps us to develop a heart of compassion and a desire to help those who are less fortunate.
Trusting in God
Trusting in God is an essential aspect of cultivating humility. When we trust in God, we acknowledge that He is in control and that we are not. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” When we trust in God, we become humble and submit to His will.
Trusting in God involves surrendering our desires and plans to Him and seeking His guidance in all areas of our lives. It means acknowledging that God knows what is best for us, even when we do not understand His ways. When we trust in God, we experience peace, joy, and contentment, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
In conclusion, humility is an essential characteristic that Christians should aspire to have. It involves recognizing our limitations and weaknesses, serving others, and trusting in God. The Bible provides numerous examples of humble people who lived their lives in obedience to God and were blessed because of their humility. As Christians, we are called to imitate their example and follow the teachings of Jesus and the apostle Paul.
Cultivating humility is not always easy, but it is worth the effort. When we humble ourselves before God, He exalts us and blesses us. We experience the benefits of wisdom and guidance from God, unity in relationships, and a life that honors God. Let us, therefore, strive to be humble servants of God, always putting others before ourselves and trusting in God’s plan for our lives.
May we always remember the words of Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” As we cultivate humility in our lives, we will be a blessing to others, and God will use us to make a difference in the world around us.