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biblical humility

Biblical Humility

Definition of Humility

The dictionary defines worldly humility as the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance. I like the Merriam-Webster version better. It defines humility as freedom from pride and arrogance. True as it may be, as a child of God, we are expected to go a bit further than the worldly definition of humility.

Definition of Biblical humility

Of course, we see many verses in the bible teaching us to be humble. We shall look at a few scripture references soon. But is it something we do by making a choice? How do we humble ourselves? If we did try to be humble, how do we know if we are humble or not? The prophet Jeremiah says, “Our hearts are full of deceit and desperately wicked.” So then how are we to trust our own heart?

Biblical Humility is a lot different from what most people think humility is. Let us first look at a few verses from the Word of God that instructs us about humility and the benefits of being humble.

Isa 57:15:- For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy [place], With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Wow! God promises in His word to dwell with him who is of a humble spirit, and also to revive the spirit of the humble. Is not this glorious? It is a continual revival. It must be so. His dwelling place must necessarily correspond with Himself with respect to life. The God-life is there, and the spirit of the humble receives continual sustenance. To understand Biblical Humility, there is no better representation than our Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus demonstrated true humility. Contrary to popular belief, it was not when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Let us call humility in the bible “Biblical Humility” just to differentiate it from what the world calls humility. 

biblical humility

Scripture References for Biblical Humility

Let us look at a few more verses from the bible to understand biblical humility.

Phil 2:5-11“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

​1 Pet 5:6
– Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, (God has got a hand in it. Whatever God is doing in your life, you don’t resist it. )

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Rom 12:16 – Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Proverbs 16:19 -Better [to be] of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Psalm 147:6 -The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.

Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble [is] wisdom.

Bible Study On Biblical Humility

There are far too many bible verses encouraging us to be humble. Are you thinking, I sincerely desire to be, but how?

To really understand Biblical Humility, it is important to understand pride.  How does God view us?  

Deut 8:2 – “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

We know we are not under the law anymore. We are under grace. But all the more because He loves us, He chastises us. Sometimes when we go through hardships in life that we don’t understand and we feel miserable about it, …in the end, most often we come out better, stronger, broken, and humbler. The Israelites went through the wilderness for forty long years because God humbled them and tested them to know what was in their heart and whether they would keep His commandments or not. The truth is that God will not tolerate even a tiny ounce of pride or self-reliance in us if we are to experience an intimate walk with Him. The truth is that when we are self-reliant and proud, we always steal the glory that only belongs to God our Father. Pride could be due to merely our good looks or perhaps some achievement. The world applauds such pride. Some people even proudly proclaim, “I am a self-made man. I started with nothing and here I am now. It took a lot of hard work to get to where I am.” And the world looks up to such people with awe and amazement. But God views this as pride and He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. If we belong to Christ and if we love Him, then we will go through many hardships that are designed to humble us and break our pride because God loves us. 

Consider our salvation itself…how precious is it to you? We need to get an in-depth understanding of our salvation. We are by default absolutely wicked in all things. That is part of our fallen sinful nature. The bible says, there is NO GOOD thing in us. We should be able to realize, accept, and see the sinfulness in us, even to an extent of despising ourselves, (Jesus said in Luke 14:26 – he who does not hate his mother, father…..even his own life, cannot be my disciple). This surely does not mean we all walk around with low self-esteem and get depressed. There is a healthy approach to despising yourself instead of descending into depression. The more we despise our sinful selves, the more we love Jesus. The more we see how much we have been forgiven, the more we love Jesus. He who has been forgiven much loves much. (Luke 7:47). Pride rises up within us when we have forgotten what we’ve been forgiven of. But when we learn to hate our sinful nature and realize how dependent and grateful, we care for God’s forgiveness, then we become a contrite and humble spirit. Only then does Isaiah 57:15 come into play. God dwells with him who has a contrite and humble spirit. And He will continually revive our hearts. This means we ourselves will be in a continual state of revival becoming more and more like Christ every day.

When we rest on His grace, and not on our ability concerning ALL things in life, He becomes our source of life, peace, joy and gladness. He becomes everything in our life. We do ALL things, including our jobs, our household chores, our parenting, and anything else always conscious of pleasing Him and with the right attitude of gratitude. He becomes our LIFE SUPPORT just as a dying patient in an Intensive Care Unit at a hospital would be totally dependent on life support to stay alive.  And that makes us humble because our complete identity and ability rest upon Him. Our continual state of revival causes us to easily notice even the tiniest of pride-related flaws in us, such as anger, disappointments with our spouse or children, addictions, jealousy, greed, and more. Since He gives grace to the humble, His grace empowers us to resist and overcome such pride-related flaws progressively.  

Have you noticed, whenever there is self-effort involved to accomplish something, there is also along with it, a lack of peace, anxiety, fear of losing, fear of not performing, an unhealthy competitive determination, wanting to win, wanting to succeed, wanting recognition, and wanting to impress others? That is why when things do not work out the way we expect them to, we feel miserable and a failure. We then think of a clever strategy to try something new. We explain it away with words like “we need to ask God for wisdom”, OR perhaps it was not God’s timing, etc.

Instead, when we truly rely on Him, then whatever the outcome, it does not bother us.

True biblical humility brings us to a place where when we pray, we are not anxious about the outcome. We are willing to embrace whatever the outcome because our trust is in Him and we absolutely know that He knows better and He will always make all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28). True biblical humility comes when you get to a place where you have zero confidence in the flesh. When you get a revelation of “Apart from Him, you can do nothing, that’s when you are humble.”

This is biblical humility. Walking in perpetual uncertainty yet being full of peace knowing that your reliance is in Him alone is being humble in the sight of God.

Conclusion

So, can you choose to be humble so that the grace of God rests on you? Yes, you can. And such humility comes by your willful repentance and turning away from your sins to intentionally pursue a godly life. When God sees you putting in an effort to pursue godliness with intentionality and a genuine desire to walk in obedience to His word, His grace floods you. That grace from Him is not so that you relax and remain as you are, but it is an empowerment to overcome your sins and walk in true freedom. Freedom from the power of sin in your life, freedom from people’s opinions, freedom from the need to please people, and freedom from an overwhelming desire to succeed in life or pursue riches. Biblical humility brings you into a truly joyful and blissful life, where you are content, satisfied, and peaceful with yourself. When you are humble, you project His humility into your family and your household to spreading the peace into your home.  

James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”