humility, biblical humility


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In a world that celebrates pride and self-promotion, the concept of humility feels counterintuitive. But as Christians, we’re called to a different standard. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the importance of humility, especially when it comes to submitting to God and to one another.

Developing a humble mindset and practicing humility is challenging, especially since it doesn’t come naturally. But what does it actually look like to live out this virtue? By digging into Scripture, we can uncover insights that will not only transform how we think and act, but also deepen our spiritual growth.

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time…

-1 Peter:5-6

Young men generally tend to be aggressive and ambitious. They are most often preoccupied with their own ideas while disregarding the ideas of others. They back their own abilities against older and more experienced men. They’re often headstrong, yearning for prominence, aspiring to positions of leadership, or in some cases think they are entitled to laziness or exempt from responsibility. 

Let’s face it, we’ve all got natural tendencies that can be a little rough around the edges. Sometimes these impulses need a serious reality check, a new direction, or even a complete overhaul to become humble before God and submit to Him.

Embracing Humility in Leadership

As the leader of my family, in certain areas of work and church involvement, I’ve learned that humility is non-negotiable. It’s not just a nice-to-have virtue, but a core requirement for anyone who wants to lead, let alone lead more like Jesus.

A spiritual leader of mine once said ” If you cannot humble yourself and submit to authority here, you won’t submit yourself before God.” You can dissect that statement, but I think the general idea is actually spot on because it attacks the pride we all carry within.

The Apostle Peter, who knew a thing or two about both pride and leadership, made this crystal clear.

The Role of Young Men and Elders

Peter specifically calls out young men to submit to their elders in his epistle. This isn’t about age but more about spiritual maturity and authority. We’ve all had to learn the hard way that humble submission to those wiser than us is essential for growth.

Going to school as a kid, we all had at least one time when we simply rebelled against authority. It is engrained into human nature, more accurately our sinful nature.

Humility as a Core Leadership Virtue

Humility isn’t a weakness. It’s strength under control and what the Lord commands of us. It’s being willing to serve in the lowliest tasks, to put others first, and to admit when you’re wrong. I’ve seen firsthand how humility can transform a man’s mindset from toxic to thriving. Both in myself and in others.

In a world that prioritizes self-promotion and pride, true humility is a rare and precious commodity. As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard to emulate the humble servant leadership shown by our Savior in every aspect of His life and ministry. As men and leaders of our own lives and families, we must embrace this countercultural approach, appropriately setting aside our own agendas and seeking to serve others with grace and compassion.



The Cultural Perspective on Humility

The world has always had a complicated relationship with humility. In the first-century pagan world, it was seen as a weakness, something for the lower class and conquered peoples. Not much has changed in today’s culture that celebrates self-promotion and self-assertion.

From Ancient Times to Modern Day

But the Bible subverts these cultural norms as it always does. From the Old Testament prophets to the teachings of Jesus, humility is lifted up as a virtue for all people at all times. It’s the path to wisdom, to blessing, to being honored by God Himself.

In our self-obsessed modern day, humility is a radical and counter-cultural choice. It’s a way we can shine as lights in the darkness, pointing others to the One who humbled Himself for our sake.

Biblical Examples of Humility

The Bible is full of powerful examples of humility in action. From Moses to David to Paul, we see how God uses those who are willing to humble themselves before Him. But the greatest example of all is Jesus Himself.

Jesus’ Teachings on Servitude

Jesus didn’t just talk about humility; He lived it. He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:5-17), a task reserved for the lowest of servants. He told parables about taking the lowest place at the table. He prayed “not My will, but Yours be done” in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42) and so many more (John 21:24-25).

Even in His divine nature, Jesus humbly submitted to the Father’s plan. As a result, God highly exalted Him. This is the pattern for us: humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, and He will lift us up in due time.

Read this passage from Philippians:

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

-Philippians 2:5-11

The Consequences of Pride vs. Humility

The Bible is clear: God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 11:2). Pride is the fast track to destruction, but humility leads to honor. I’ve seen this play out time and again in my own life and in the lives of those around me. I’d bet you feel the same way.

When we humble ourselves, we position ourselves to receive God’s favor and blessing. But when we strut in pride, we set ourselves up for a fall. Proverbs warns that pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18-19). May we be a people marked by true humility, for our good and for God’s glory.



Implementing Humility in Daily Life

Living with humility isn’t just a nice sentiment it’s a concrete way of being that should permeate our daily lives. Picture this: you wake up in the morning, ready to tackle the day ahead. But instead of rushing through your routine, you take a moment to reflect on how you can approach each task and interaction with a humble heart. That’s just the beginning here are some key areas where humility can truly make a difference.

In our personal relationships, humility means considering others as more important than ourselves. It means listening more than speaking, serving more than being served, and forgiving freely.

True humility in professional settings can mean admitting that you don’t have all the answers where appropriate. Giving credit where credit is due. Being open to feedback and correction. And treating everyone with the same level of respect, no matter their position.

As believers, we’re called to live out humility in every sphere of life. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. When we humble ourselves, we reflect the character of Christ and point others to Him.

Submission Within Christian Marriage

Want a rock-solid marriage? Embrace humility. When wives submit to their husbands and husbands love their wives, it’s not a power struggle it’s a loving partnership filled with mutual respect and honoring God’s design.

When both husband and wife are committed to His design for marriage, it creates a beautiful picture of Christ and the church. It’s a far cry from the world’s view of marriage as a power struggle or a 50/50 partnership.

Submission in marriage isn’t about losing yourself, but about following Christ’s design for marriage. It’s about trusting that design and living it out with humility and grace. When we do, we experience the blessings of a marriage that reflects God’s love to the world.

See Ephesians 5:21–33.



Overcoming Cultural Barriers to Humility

It’s time to get real: humility is a rare commodity in our culture. We’re living in an age where self-promotion is the name of the game, and being humble is often mistaken for being passive or lacking drive. But is that really the case?

That depends on who’s perspective you look at but as believers, we’re called to a different standard. We’re called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who humbled Himself even to the point of death on the cross. We’re called to resist the pull of pride and cultivate genuine humility, even when it goes against the grain of our culture.

It’s not easy, but it’s possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we fix our eyes on Jesus and seek to imitate Him, humility becomes not just a duty, but a delight. We find freedom in laying down our pride and picking up the basin and towel of servanthood.

Let’s be a shining example in this world, radiating the grace and strength that comes from putting others first. Instead of seeking the spotlight, we’ll be known for our humble hearts and helping hands. As we bow before God’s mighty hand, He’ll be the one celebrated through our selfless actions.

 
Key Takeaway:

Humility isn’t just a virtue; it’s the backbone of biblical leadership and living. It means putting others first, admitting mistakes, and embracing servitude just like Jesus did. This choice sets us apart in a self-centered world, blessing our lives and glorifying God.

Conclusion

Embracing humility and submission is no easy task, but it’s a vital part of our Christian walk. By following Christ’s example and obeying God’s Word, we can learn to set aside our pride and selfishness and instead prioritize serving others and honoring God in all we do.

As we cultivate humility in our hearts, we’ll discover our relationships blossoming, our character strengthening, and our faith growing deeper roots. Make a commitment to chase after this biblical virtue, knowing that God will provide the grace and strength we need to live it out each and every day.

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