The world we live in teaches us to be great at all things, be above the competition, celebrate our greatness with tweets, posts, and conversations that let everyone know of our achievements. C.S. Lewis once said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he wanted them to know the value of humility and being a true servant…“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” He knew that pride and selfishness were not the character of God but, rather, that a true follower of Jesus was to clothe themselves in humility (Colossians 3:12). Jesus Christ had every opportunity to have a “look at me” mentality, to grasp at status, power, and authority, but instead, he wanted others to understand the value he placed in and on them…he wanted them to understand that the way up is actually down.
Humility is not intended for someone to belittle themselves or have disparaging thoughts about who they are. There’s a great adage about what humility actually means and what it doesn’t…it’s not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. A humble person will not only honor others but also see that the needs of others are just as real, as important, as worthwhile as their own.
If you were to look at those in your life who showed humility and saw others as valuable and loved as themselves, what characteristics did they possess? What behaviors did they demonstrate regularly? When we practice humility, it shows up because it’s so different from what our world says is important and makes us valuable. So, what can this look like in your life?
- We’ve all been in conversations when the person we are talking to only talks about themselves. And, sometimes we are that person, too. What would it look like to change the focus from yourself to the other person by asking more questions?
- Social media is the epicenter of showing off how our personal greatness or the highlight reels of our wonderful lives and adventures. What if your posts for this day, week, month highlighted the value of others who have clothed themselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
There are a number of first steps you could take in living a more humble life. Here are a couple that might resonate and get you started.
- Journal or write down a resume of your character, not your expertise. What does this reveal about who you are becoming? Are you on the path to humility?
- Reflect and write down the characteristics of a gentle and humble person.
- Spend this week doing some self-assessment. How do you speak about yourself to others? Sometimes we spin the truth to make ourselves appear better to the other person. Do you do this?
“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith.” James 2:1 (MSG)