In mid-December, God threw a hard blow at my pride. Unintentionally, I found myself reading an acquaintance’s opinion of me, and the evaluation was less than stellar. Immediately, my competitive spirit became defensive, arguing, “well she obviously doesn’t really know me…”. After I cried a little and tried to mentally justify my every interaction with this individual, and I realized the heart of the issue. In my pride, I had not taken the time to really know her.
So I did what any good writer would do. I sat down with my laptop and admitted my conceit to the entire blogosphere–with good intentions, of course! For the next few weeks, I hope to share Biblical examples of humility with practical tips for demoting ourselves and elevating God (John 3:30).
Before we dig into the study, let’s form a biblical definition of humility.
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.”Romans 12:3
Often, I think of humility as the opposite of pride, and (to use a generally despised litotes) that assumption is not wrong. According to Webster’s Dictionary, humility is “freedom from pride or arrogance.” Webster defines pride as “inordinate self-esteem,” or in the Apostle Paul’s words, thinking “of yourself more highly than you ought to think” (Romans 12:3). Humility, therefore, is freedom from a false view of yourself.
Did you catch that? Humility is freedom. Returning to my opening story, you could say that I was ensnared. When I first saw my name on the evaluation sheet, I expected to read words of praise. When the words that I read did not align with the words I imagined, I was disappointed.
If I had read her statement with an attitude of humility, I probably would have reacted differently. Instead of unexpected embarrassment, the words would have delivered necessary critique. Instead of defensive reasoning, I would have postulated methods of improvement.
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”Proverbs 27:3
Humility is important because it frees us from lies that are simultaneously self-glorifying and self-destructive. I look forward to pursuing this freedom with you in the upcoming weeks as we study examples of humility in God’s Word.
Let me know in the comments:
- Has your pride ever taken a hard blow? How did you respond?
- What is your view of yourself? Is it a false view (pride) or an accurate view (humility)?