“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (I Peter 5:5-6, English Standard Version).
Why does the Bible stress humility so much? Is this characteristic really so important in our lives? Or is it just an old-fashioned concept that doesn’t fit with our modern way of looking out for Number One? By examining various scriptures, we learn humility is not only essential but also enriches our lives. Blessings come from having a humble spirit.
- We need humility to come to God.
Humility lowers itself while pride is arrogant and seeks to exalt itself. When we seek forgiveness for our sins, we come to God with a spirit of humility and submission. It opens the door to repentance, an essential part of the process. James 4:10 tells us, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
- The humble have a teachable spirit.
Think of a school room. Before the student can learn, he must be willing to listen to the instructor. With humility we open ourselves to the wisdom of others, including the things God desires to teach us. “He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalm 25:9, CSB).
- Gratitude grows from a humble heart.
Pride robs us of gratitude. It’s so easy to take credit for all the good things that come our way. We lose sight of what others and God have done for us. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
- Humility recognizes our need of God’s help.
We can do life on our own, but why would we want to? God is willing and able to provide all we need. We can tap into His strength and power. “I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence” (II Peter 1:3, New English Translation).
So many people have the wrong idea about humility. It isn’t low self-esteem or feeling worthless. Nor is it making yourself a doormat and inviting everyone to walk over you. It does not mean you must discredit the gifts and abilities God has put within you. As Rick Warren once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
Humility is foundational to living the best life. It is also essential to successful relationships—with each other and with God. The humble person is a blessed person.
Prayer: Lord, You have blessed me with so much. I know it isn’t because of anything I have done but because of Your goodness and mercy. I pray my heart will always be open to Your will. Give me a heart that is open to Your Word and the things You want to teach me. My dependency is on You.