As we grow in character, humility is one of the things that we definitely want to display more and more. We understand that our model, Jesus Christ, had a gentle and humble heart (Matthew 11:29), and He demonstrated it wherever He went. No matter the circumstances, He never lacked humility, and with his help, that’s what we need to strive for too.
Understand the Dangers of Pride
I think it’s important to understand some of the dangers of pride. God takes pride seriously – seriously enough to kick one of His archangels (Lucifer/Satan) out of His presence because of it! Remember, we don’t want God to oppose us (2 Samuel 22:28), so we must resist pride.
God doesn’t answer or rescue the proud:
Job 22:29 — When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, and the humble person He will save.
Job 35:12 — There they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of evil men.
Proverbs 29:23 — A man’s pride and sense of self-importance will bring him down, but he who has a humble spirit will obtain honor.
Pride is connected to violence & wickedness:
Psalm 73:6 — Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them.
Proverbs 6:17-18 — A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that creates wicked plans, feet that run swiftly to evil
Pride binds and holds captive:
Jeremiah 13:17 — But if you will not listen to it, my soul will sob in secret for such pride; and my eyes will bitterly weep and flow down with tears because the flock of the Lord has been taken captive.
Pride separates us from God:
1 John 2:16 — For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Putting On Humility
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that humility doesn’t “just happen.” We must be intentional about putting on humility and casting off pride. In fact, Peter says in 1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (emphasis mine).
Moses knew how to put on humility. In fact, the Bible calls him the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). But how could someone like Moses, who grew up in a palace as royalty, be humble? Moses struggled with personal issues (stuttering) and even doubted God choosing him because of his inadequacies; maybe his insecurities about his abilities kept him humble and dependent on God. But more than that, Moses went through a lot of refining in his character after he murdered the Egyptian and lived in the desert as a shepherd for decades. Moses allowed God to grow humility in him during this time, and he allowed all traces of pride to come tumbling down.
Signs of Humility
- You’re willing to ask for or receive help. Moses demonstrated this when he allowed Aaron and Hur to help him hold up his hands so that Israel would win the battle. Pride says, “I can do it myself. I don’t need anyone else.” But a person of humility recognizes that he cannot do it on his own and that he needs help, especially from God. A humble person says, “As if I even know what to do.”
- You’re not “wise in your own eyes.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) Pride is all about what YOU understand, and pride often asks God WHY? Instead of being wise in your own eyes, you fear and trust the Lord. Even when you don’t understand, you know that He understands, and that’s good enough for you. And you say with confidence, I will trust in the Lord with ALL my heart, and part of my heart won’t question Him.
- You put no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:3) Sometimes we can get wrapped up in what we can do – what we can accomplish ourselves – that we forget about asking for help from others or even involving God! That’s putting confidence in the flesh and in our own abilities. Humble people place all their confidence in God, not themselves.
One last thought: Even when we pray, we have to guard against pride and not make it “all about us” and our needs. As we pray, we submit our will to God’s and accept how He works things out in our lives. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we think they should, and we feel disappointed. But be careful that your emotion of disappointment doesn’t disappoint God as being Lord in your life. No matter how things turn out, we must humbly remember that He’s still God, He’s still in control, and He still deserves our trust and devotion. That’s living in true humility.