When I was supposed to speak at a leadership forum on practical suggestions on how to live in humility, to say the least, it was the last topic I wanted to speak on.
It’s OK to have others use you as an example, but it is very uncomfortable to speak about yourself, especially under the heading of humility!
Although that was my initial reaction, I changed my mind after reading the only words Jesus used to describe himself found in Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If you are like me, you desire to be like Jesus. In fact Paul in Ephesians 5 indicates that we should be imitators of God! How does one get to the place where others refer to them as “gentle and humble in heart”?
As my friend Boyd so eloquently put it, “Humility is a demeanor dependent on the Lord. Gentleness and humility lubricate the relational machinery of a home or enterprise. Gentleness is aggression under the control of the Holy Spirit, and humility is courage that is first committed to Christ.”
Humility is not something that comes with a unique formula or process to attain it; it is awareness that God’s standards of conduct are different and that humility is a condition of the heart!
Philippians 2:5-8 states that our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ who was truly God but did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave when he became human like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God by being willing to die for us on a cross.”
The move towards a humble approach normally starts with awareness that we are not living in a way that brings the most glory and honor to God. The awareness that this is what Christ was like and men like Moses were known for (Numbers 12:3), an awareness that has come through a rebuke about our arrogance or prideful behavior. Awareness, over time, that those who genuinely serve others get better results and tend to have better, more meaningful and lasting relationships!
For me, all of these scenarios were true. I realized ever so slowly that the life God wanted for me was one of submission to Him (He is God and I’m not!) and one that honors others by serving them. Both required dying to myself and adopting a new attitude of daily life. No longer desiring to be served but to seek opportunities to serve others.
I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you daily opportunities to joyfully serve others in order to live a life of humility that God will honor and bless.
Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.