Humility is a hard thing. We are taught from an early age to be self seeking and to grab whatever we can for ourselves. Humility, however, requires us to put the needs of another before our own. It is admitting that we do not consider ourselves to be better than anyone else. Many times we can get to the point of expressing humility with our lips, but actually demonstrating it with our lives remains elusive. We want to do things our way and are jealous with our time. Putting the needs of someone else before our own is a struggle, but it is one we must win if we are serious about our commitment to Christ. Jesus commands us to love everyone, and love is humble.
It is easy to get caught up in our own lives and disregard the needs of those around us. To humble ourselves is to become a servant to the needs of another. Every day we have an opportunity to serve someone; we simply need to open our eyes and become aware of the world around us. Small acts of deference demonstrate that you value the other person and put their needs ahead of your own. Letting the other driver have the parking space, allowing someone to go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, or doing the dishes for your spouse; all of these ascribe worth to another and demonstrate humility. The humble person is willing to forego their own needs in favor of another. Humility is not concerned with what is earned or deserved, but rather in providing service to someone else.
The key to humility is to remember your purpose. We exist to reflect the glory and love of Christ to a world of darkness and need. Our whole mission is to make more and more of Him, while making ever less of ourselves. In everything we do we must think Jesus first; consider what He would do if He were faced with similar circumstances. Jesus never took the opportunity to tout His own greatness. If the Son of God can be humble, then surely his weak and fallen creation should be expected to do no less.
Remember where you came from; a life of sin, discontent and hopelessness. If not for the love of Christ that is the most we could ever hope to be. Save for the mercy and grace of God, we have nothing of which to boast. If we can keep that in mind, then we will not become proud and we can remain humble in everything we do. Jesus gave Himself for us; we now must give our lives for others. Humility rarely calls for us to actually die for someone (although it could), but it does require we sacrifice our pride, time and money for another.
When conversing with someone else, make certain you listen more than you talk. Deferring to someone else in conversation not only shows your humility, it also tells the other person you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. By simply keeping your mouth shut, you become a far more attractive person and a better friend. If you must speak, make sure you are speaking words of love and encouragement. Don’t boast or try to “outdo” the stories of the one to whom you are speaking. We should never seek to take credit for anything; all that we have has been entrusted to us by God.
As we learn to maintain a humble heart before Christ, we will begin to demonstrate that same humility to others around us. Without humility, we cannot love people. If we are always thinking of ourselves first, we will never be able to genuinely express love to another. Everyone craves love and wants to feel like their life matters. Swallow your pride and reach out to someone who is lonely or in pain. Sacrificing your own time to invest in another is the core of what it means to love someone. In the same way, we must be humble enough to accept the help and love of another. Humility is a two way street.
All that you have is a gift from God, and none of us know all there is to know. We can always learn more from each other. If you begin to feel prideful and lose focus, remember that you can’t even create the breath in your lungs. We are totally dependent on God for life, each one of us. We are all the same in the eyes of God, so we must learn to see others as He does. What are some other practical ways to demonstrate humility? Leave a comment below with your ideas so that we can all grow and learn together. Jesus lived a life of love that was humble in every way. We have chosen to follow Him and model that love to the world around us. Ask God to help you see people through His eyes; then walk outside, look around, and live a life of humble service to Him.