A tall man, standing on stilts.
When I think of the word humility, my brain almost always jumps to the word humiliation. When I think of the word humiliation, I will invariably be reminded of my most embarrassing and humbling moments throughout life. The words are closely related.
A quick internet search will define humility as “a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.” Merriam-Webster, specifically, defines humility as “freedom from pride or arrogance : the quality or state of being humble.” Humiliate is defined as follows: “to reduce (someone) to a lower position in one's own eyes or others' eyes : to make (someone) ashamed or embarrassed.”
In one country boy’s terms, humility means “starting low,” and humiliation means “ending low.”
If I am honest with myself, my most humiliating moments have taken place at the height of my pride and arrogance. It’s as if I’m standing on stilts and bragging about how tall I am, only to have the stilts knocked out from under me!
The bible is full of appeals to humility (often contrasted with warnings against pride):
Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 14:11, Jesus speaking)
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. (Romans 12:3)
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Jesus is our perfect example of humility. He took on the form of a human to glorify the Trinity and to serve both God and us. Christ was the only person who has ever had the right not to be humble, yet The Word “became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Christ-like humility begins by laying down any self-proclaimed “right” to pride we are holding onto, and intentionally cultivating servanthood in our hearts and actions through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we serve others with a humble heart, regardless of social status, seniority, title, or perceived self-importance, we imitate and glorify Christ in our actions and testimony to others, while also growing closer to the heart of The Father within ourselves.
Think About: Would I rather start low or end low? In what area(s) of my life do I need to step down from my pride and take on the heart of a servant? Who can I discuss these areas of pride with and ask for help and accountability in cultivating a heart of servanthood and humility?
Pray: God my Father, Thank you for humbling Yourself when You didn’t have to, just to save Your children. Thank You for the perfect example of humility You have shown me in Christ. Please remind me of the humility of Jesus often. Help me God, through Your Holy Spirit, to have a humble heart that wants to serve You and others rather than myself. I humbly pray that You would correct me when I become proud, and help me lay down my pride enough to seek accountability from others in the Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Lucas Brown is a Senior Sales Tax Accountant for Tractor Supply Company by day. By night and weekends, he is a musician, writer, project handyman, and outdoorsman. Lucas is a full time Christ-follower, husband to his wife (Katie), and father to their daughter (Maggie Mae). Small group discussions/ Bible studies are Lucas' favorite vehicle for mutual discipleship.