As I seek to grow in humility this year, God has been bringing multiple opportunities to do so. Reading through the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy illuminated the humble leadership of Moses, dropping my apartment key in the grass reminded me I’m not as perfect as I like to think, experiencing a very up-and-down couple of weeks helped me fix my eyes on Christ and not myself.
My prideful heart is quick to focus on ME. But by God’s grace, I’ve been growing in this area. As I catch myself acting pridefully, it helps me to remember, as Paul admonishes the Ephesians: “that is not the way [I] learned Christ!”
God has shown me that instead of turning inward to self-protect or to criticize, a humble heart says these three things:
1. “I was wrong”
I have told my dad that one of the things I will always admire him most for is his humble spirit. He was the first adult in my life to model repentance. He has always been quick to ask forgiveness of others when he is wrong, and that is something I seek to live out as well.
When it has wronged someone and/or God, a prideful heart says, “I am right” or “there’s no way I’ll admit my faults.” A humble heart says, “I was wrong.”
2. “I need help”
It seems counterintuitive that humility is coupled with an awareness of one’s needs, but it’s the truth. Having stubbornly refused help for far too many years, I can attest to the prideful spirit that this action seeks to mask. When we think we’re too good for others’ help or when we feel embarrassed to need help, that indicates that we are thinking too highly of ourselves. Experience tells me that when we refuse help, we largely remain stuck in limbo until we open ourselves up to God and to others. In other words: don’t try to run this Christian race solo, friend. You’ll peter out by mile two. 🙂
When it is overwhelmed or inadequate, a prideful heart says, “I got this.” A humble heart says, “I need help right now.”
3. “How does this impact ____?”
Have you ever tried to help a toddler with a task? Typically, even the most sincere effort is met with a pint-sized frown and an indignant, “No! I do it myself.”
Though our grammar and etiquette improve over the years, most of us maintain that inner posture through much of adulthood. If a less-than-ideal situation arises, we first consider how it will affect us. That arrogant perspective doesn’t take others into account, nor does it use godly wisdom to trust that the Lord will provide for us even if things don’t pan out in our favor.
When faced with a trial, a prideful heart says, “I need to control this to protect or bolster myself.” A humble heart says, “How might this situation or my actions impact someone else?”
How Can You Grow?
Does one of these prideful statements sound a little too familiar? Fantastic–that means you’re human! And accepting that humanity is the first step toward a humble life. I for instance, am guilty of choosing pride over humility often. That makes me all the more grateful that I have a faithful God who is committed to growing and humbling His children so we can live in the fullness He has for us.