Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Dallas Willard on Humility

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, an Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain,… More
  • 2005 May 14

David Steinhart, pastor of Forest Park (IL) Baptist Church, shared some insights on humility from a tape on leadership by Dallas Willard. Humility is a quality that is hard to define and even harder to develop. Very few people would admit to praying for humility even though the Bible instructs us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6). How do you "humble yourself" in a practical sense? Dallas Willard offers three helpful answers.

First, never pretend. Be yourself. We all face those tight moments when we are tempted to claim inside knowledge or special talents we don't possess. Or we make quick promises we know we can't keep. Under pressure we may downplay our abilities because we think it makes us appear humble. Wrong on all counts. True humility claims nothing more or less than the truth. What you see is what you get.

Second, never presume. So often we think we know what others are feeling or we act as if we can read minds. Humility doesn't pass judgment on why people do what they do or why they say what they say. The humble man realizes he looks on the outward but God alone sees the heart. He refrains from snap judgments, hasty conclusions, and negative assumptions. When he doesn't know, he simply says, "I don't know." We could save ourselves from a ton of worry if we stopped presuming on the future or on what others might do or say.

Third, never push. Humility waits for the Lord to move first. Sometimes we get in trouble because we try to force people to do what we want. This may be expressed by giving commands in a loud voice or by nagging others or by making a series of critical comments or even by using violence to get our own way. If we were asked, we would all say we don't like to be treated that way. People want to be led, they hate to be pushed. They want the freedom to think things through and to come to their own conclusions. George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement, was a pacifist. Once he was approached by several soldiers who had become followers of his teaching. "How long should we wear our swords?" they asked. "As long as you can," he replied. Not long after that the soldiers put away their swords voluntarily.

Here are some questions that may help you:

*Do I talk in ways that make it hard for people to know what I really mean?

*How often do I assume bad motives in others?

*How do I react when others don't immediately follow my advice?

*In what areas of my life am I pushing when I ought to be waiting on the Lord?

This is the path to humility. Never pretend. Never presume. Never push.

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