It takes effort to be humble in a prideful world. These 5 biblical ways to practice humility will help you serve others and focus on God.
My most cherished Christmas decoration has to be my nativity scene. Each November, my children take turns setting the ceramic figures on the sill of our bay window, strategically facing each character towards the eventual spot of baby Jesus.
The highlight of this special tradition comes when we put Jesus in the center of the nativity, giving Him the attention He deserves for His great act of humility and demonstration of love. The thought of my mighty God humbling Himself into the position of baby seems unbelievable.
But then consider how He came knowing of His impending death. Whoa. Talk about being humbled at Christmas.
My kids always bicker over who will position Jesus. In their harmless banter, they don’t notice they’ve stolen the glory from Jesus and put it on themselves.
We are all guilty of doing this aren’t we? The struggle to be humble is real!
Why We Struggle to Be Humble
The visual of Mary and Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds placing their focus on Jesus reminds me of a vital fact. These well-known Bible characters may be part of the Christmas story, but they aren’t THE story.The ability to live a humble life hinges on your acceptance that Jesus is the story—not you.Click To Tweet
This can be a hard principle to adopt. Sin puts the attention on us. Our wants. Our needs. Our desires.
Do you ever start to work for the Lord only to find by the end of it you’re working for yourself to get farther or gain praise?
We can’t be humble when we finish a thought, a word, or an act with us.
Don’t forget that in everything you say or think or do:
You aren’t saying it for you.
You aren’t thinking it for them.
You are doing it for Him.
Jesus’ Example of How to Be Humble
I discussed Jesus serving as our model of how to live life in Humbled at Christmas Part 1: 4 Truths about Humility.
Jesus showcased what God intended us to be in Him and a trait that He exemplified over and over again was His humility. Jesus’ humbleness enveloped His entire earthly existence from the manger to the cross.
The best man to walk the earth was our King. It blows my mind that very few treated Him as such or that He didn’t demanded it. (He sure could have!)
So, how did Jesus show us His humility?
JESUS DIDN’T GIVE HIMSELF THE BEST.
Jesus denied Himself of the best from His birth and continued to reject what the world deemed as “best” until His death.
He could have came to this world as a grown man, fully capable of taking care of Himself, but He chose to enter it as a helpless baby.
He relied on the provisions of His heavenly Father rather than giving Himself the comfort of wealth.
He gave up popularity and esteem for the sake of truth.
JESUS DIDN’T BRAG THAT HE WAS THE BEST.
Jesus lived a blameless life, which included persecution and temptation from Satan.
He healed the sick and brought the dead back to life. He controlled the sea and multiplied little into much.
He spoke truth like no one else and taught the most educated men as they sat with Him to learn.
Jesus was the best man to walk the Earth but never bragged about His perfection, power, or wisdom. No. He used it for others and more importantly to bring glory to His Father.
JESUS GAVE HIS BEST.
We see Jesus’ best in His unending love and His selfless service to believers and unbelievers alike. And there’s no denying all the effort He put into seeking the lost and caring for the sick and poor.
But of these examples nothing speaks better to Jesus giving His best than this:
5 Ways to Be Humble
Let me begin by saying I struggle to be humble. Every facet of my being yearns for appreciation, acceptance, and approval. Even when I strive for humility, I seem to throw me into what is His.
Humility requires purposeful planning and practice day after day because our sinful nature will bring out our selfishness and pride any chance its gets. It also takes a lot of trust in the Holy Spirit to work through us!
Here are five ways to exercise humility on a daily basis.
1. KNOW THAT YOUR WORTH COMES FROM THE LORD.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10, KJV).
Our sin keeps us far away from achieving the perfection and greatness of our Mighty God. Instead, sin bounds us and makes us unworthy no matter what we think or say or do.
Still, God came down as little baby Jesus so that we could gain our worth in Him.We may not be worthy of Jesus’ love and favor but we do have worth because of it.Click To Tweet
When we trust Him to guide and give us purpose—therefore humbling ourselves in His sight—He lifts us up and gives us value that we are unable to obtain on our own.
2. RECOGNIZE WHEN TO OFFER HELP AND WHEN TO ACCEPT IT.
“…Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, KJV).
I’m teaching the kids at church about humility and I gave them this definition:
Humility is seeing that we need help because we have weaknesses, offering help because we have strengths, and trusting God to help us do both.
When we are humble, we identify and accept our weaknesses and our strengths and use them to please God and bring Him the glory.
We can use our strengths to sacrificially teach, guide, and be an example to those struggling. Or we can allow others to help us when we face a weaknesses or need wisdom. But both—helping and receiving help—rely on God working through us.
3. HUMBLE YOURSELF WITH CHILDLIKE FAITH.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4, KJV).
In Matthew 18, Jesus points out to His disciples what pride often prevents us from observing—that children exhibit character traits from which we can all learn. Children obviously don’t have the wisdom and experience of adults, but remember that very same wisdom and experience can bolster pride and hinder humility.
Children are inherently teachable, trusting, and reliant on those able to help them. The youngest children do not seek approval nor endeavor for distinction.
These traits equip children to learn, follow, and trust God, who is ultimately the one we must humble ourselves before.
4. CONSIDER OTHERS’ INTERESTS AS MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN YOUR INTERESTS.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3, KJV).
We display “lowliness of mind” (or humility) by having a true perspective on ourselves. We admit that we are in need of a Savior and praise God for the undeserved grace and mercy He gives us.
In this humble state, it’s easier to stop selfishly taking and to demonstrate Jesus’s love to others. But putting others ahead of ourselves remains difficult.
Do you struggle to serve others because you worry about your own needs being met?
As believers in Christ, we no longer need to fret about our needs because God will supply them. This truth enables us to serve others with humility as Jesus did and God calls us to do.
5. OBEY GOD’S WORD WITH SACRIFICIAL SERVICE.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8, KJV).
True humility involves denying ourselves of what the world proclaims as our rights and sacrificially giving of our time, talents, and resources. We may even have to give up our life, which for us likely means living a life lead by God rather than ourselves, but for some means leaving this world and entering the gates of Heaven.
Why do any of this humble stuff?
Obedience to our all powerful, merciful, and perfect God tops the list. Even Jesus submitted before His Heavenly Father. So should we.
Read More on How to Be Humble
Want more ideas on how to be humble? Check out what fellow Christian bloggers are saying about humility.
What men and women in the Bible would you consider humble and what can you learn from them?