February 19, 2024

Developing Humility

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time1 Peter 5:6


Humility is often seen as a personality trait you’re either born with or you’re not. But that’s a mistaken understanding of biblical humility. You see, it’s not about your personality but your character. And as believers, our character should reflect the character of Jesus Christ. So how do we go about developing humility?


First, Peter tells us not to seek personal recognition but to wait for God to put us in places of honor. When we start expecting recognition, we’re no longer serving God but our own ego.  Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:12). You see, if we don’t humble ourselves then God will do it for us.


The life of Nebuchadnezzar illustrates how far God will go in order to humble a prideful person (Daniel 4:28-37). This king not only lost his throne and power, but lived in the fields like an animal for seven years! Why would God humiliate someone to that extent?


Well, James 4:6 warns that, “God is opposed to the proud.” In other words, God literally  shows hostility to the proud because pride opposes Him. Remember, pride is basically the sin of thinking we know better than God. It causes an exaggerated or distorted view of self. We certainly see that in Nebuchadnezzar’s case, as well as in the fall of Satan (Isaiah 14:12–14).


If those are examples of pride and its consequences, then Jesus is our example for humility. He didn’t come to Earth demanding to be recognized, but became a servant. Philippians 2:5-11 says that Jesus was highly exalted after He humbled Himself on the Cross; and that we are to have this same attitude of selfless humility. How is that possible?


Look at the last part of James 4:6, “but [He] gives grace to the humble.” Developing humility comes, in large part, from living each day in the grace of God. That means seeing life from His perspective—not our own. It means recognizing our sins and shortcomings, confessing them, and admitting dependence on Him.


Pride says, “I should be recognized and respected for what I’ve done.” Humility says, “I just want to be a faithful servant of the Lord.” If you’ll humble yourself, “the mighty hand of God” has power to lift you up in His timing and for His purpose.