One of the best (and hardest) lessons that you and I will continually learn is humility.
Most days, we have the outward display of humility down to an art form.
We’re masters of the humble brag and the deflected compliment. Yet it’s the inward pride that trips us up over and over again.
And despite how many times we try to cover it up with a humble demeanor, our pride keeps showing when we least expect it.
So what is humility?
I like how Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word: “In ethics, freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one’s own worth. In theology, humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one’s own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will.”
To borrow a phrase from Max Lucado, humility acknowledges that we’re not God and that we must quit applying for His position.
Humility recognizes that someone else’s ideas are often better than mine.
Humility realizes that the biggest thing we need to control isn’t a project, but our own selfish natures.
Humility rejoices when we are offered an opportunity to serve, not lead.
Humility responds to a challenging situation with grace and gentleness, not by reacting with prideful irritation.
Humility restores us into right fellowship with God and man.
English preacher William Call appropriately summed up the practical how-to of humility in his book, Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life:
“Let every day, therefore, be a day of humility; condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.
Aspire after nothing but your own purity and perfection, and have no ambition, but to do everything in so reasonable and religious a manner, that you may be glad that God is everywhere present, and sees and observes all your actions.
The greatest trial of humility is an humble behaviour towards your equals in age, estate, and condition of life. Therefore be careful of all the motions of your heart towards these people.
Let all your behaviour towards them be governed by unfeigned love. Have no desire to put any of your equals below you, nor any anger at those that would put themselves above you.
If they are proud, they are ill of a very bad distemper; let them, therefore, have your tender pity; and perhaps your meekness may prove an occasion of their cure.
But if your humility should do them no good, it will, however, be the greatest good that you can do to yourself.
Remember that there is but one man in the world, with whom you are to have perpetual contention, and be always striving to exceed him, and that is yourself.”
This article appeared in the October 1, 2019 edition of our Live His Adventure email newsletter. Get your free weekly subscription!
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