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Is It Hard To Be Humble?

A country song written by Mac Davis opens with the words "O Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way." Even though it's a tongue-in-cheek line, it contains an element of truth for us, because we do, in fact, tend to think highly of ourselves and overestimate our importance. The words humility (noun) and humble (verb or adjective) have the same Latin root (humilis, meaning low, lowly), and both apply to a person who has a modest opinion of herself/himself and does not exhibit prideful, arrogant, or boastful behavior.


The Bible makes it clear that God wants us to be humble (Psalm 149:4, Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 16:5, Luke 14:11, James 4:6). To make His desire perfectly clear, God gave us Jesus as the perfect example of humility (Philippians 2:5-7). Paul says "And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!" (Philippians 2:8). Thus, as Christians, we are called to follow Jesus' example by being humble and placing the worth, needs, and well-being of others above our own. We are tasked to reach out in the spirit of love and serve those who are poor, hungry, sick, grieving, lonely, persecuted, or otherwise suffering (Matthew 25:34-40, Luke 14:12-14).  Humble behavior includes treating all people with respect. We should be sensitive to others' feelings, being careful to not offend or be presumptuous. We should choose our words wisely.  Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 4:2: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." See also Philippians 2:3-4 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. Furthermore, it is encouraging to know that God promises us the blessings of His support and guidance if we are humble (Psalm 25:9, 147:6).


We should remember, however, that our ultimate act of humility is our duty to be humble before God Himself. We must give Almighty God the glory, not ourselves. We must not indulge in spiritual pride and overestimate our importance. We must not forget that the good works we do are the result of God working in us (Philippians 2:13). Proverbs 22:4 tells us that "Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life." Also, humility before God doesn't just apply to us as individuals. God also calls us, collectively as nations, to be humble before Him:   "...if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14). We fail to acknowledge God at our own peril.


So, yes, it is hard to be humble. Nevertheless, God's will is for us to be humble. The Disciple Group asks you to think seriously about whether you have a heart to serve or a heart to be served. Do you focus more on others or on yourself? Is your attitude one of humility or pride?  Do you give God the glory? Wherever you fall on the humility spectrum, there is probably room for improvement! The Disciple Group suggests that you ask God to help you grow in humility so that you can live more in accordance with His will and receive the blessings He gives to those who obey Him. Our goal should be to live by these words from 1 Peter 5:6: "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor."