I am still reflecting on a recent event we had for our men on campus entitled Fellaship. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a bi-semesterly men’s gathering where we discuss relevant topics and pray for one another. The Northwest University women have a similar event called ChicChat. At this past FellaShip, Pastor Vinnie Ramos from New Life Renton brought an engaging word for our men on the topic of humility. Among the many character qualities one must develop, I believe humility must be at the top of the list.
In his book Humility: True Greatness, author C.J. Mahaney says that humility is “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness”. When we fully and honestly examine our hearts and motives from the perspective of God’s holiness and our sinfulness, we begin to realize how small we are and how necessary the character quality of humility really is. When we do not display humility, we elevate ourselves to God’s level, whether we realize it or not.
When humility is absent in a person, pride tends dominate. The disciple Peter wrote about pride and instructed Christ-followers to “clothe yourselves in humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Pride is the human process of trying to gain favor from God and people, but humility is God’s process of giving favor to the lowly.
Humility is a character quality that I have to work on every day. I am not anywhere near where I need to be or would like to be. Often, the need for recognition or the addiction to self-aggrandizement takes over. This issue is so important to me that I wear a ring that is a constant reminder of what humility is and its importance in my life. There is a symbol of a horse on the face of the ring, which reminds me to remain in control of my actions at all time. My working definition of humility is “strength under control”. If I don’t control my actions, I can destroy myself and hurt others in the process.
Humility is a constant struggle for most people. Our culture reinforces the notion that we must build our resume, promote ourselves, and constantly update our social status. I have learned that in order to gain humility, I have to work hard at it. An important step towards humility is to listen more than we talk. I have found that people who talk a lot tend to be perceived as arrogant. It is so much more fun to learn what others think by asking good questions. Second, I have found that admitting my faults helps me fight pride. People who quickly admit they were wrong and own their shortcomings are more respected than those who give off an image of perfection. Third, develop the skill of being a life-long learner. Admit early that you don’t have all the answers and that there are other people who have walked this journey ahead of you. Humble yourself and learn from their story.
Lord, I am so thankful for your son Jesus, who modeled the perfect example of humility for us. In a culture that is self-promoting, we need your help. Holy Spirit, reveals truths about ourselves, and bring godly examples into our lives who will talk to us and helps us with our areas of pride. Amen.