Why Is the Gift of Humility Important in the Life of the Christian?
- Dawn Hill Author
- 2021 3 Nov
Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4).
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom (James 3:13).
I have a confession to make. For a while now, pride has been dying a rapidly painful death in my life, and it is all thanks to social media and technology. We live in such a time when being right on a personal level holds high value. Truth be told, it boils down to thinking more highly of myself at times than I should.
It can be very tempting in this age of technology to get the last word or to feel as if we have proven our point or put someone in their place. This has been a personal area of growth when writing or sharing online.
Conversations with those who may respectfully disagree have been one avenue the Lord has used to weaken pride in my life and to learn to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19).
Then there are the occasional comments or messages where the test comes whether to remain quiet or to respond in a self-gratifying way.
I am learning to pick my battles and as Christians, testifying of Christ and His nature should be at the forefront of our thoughts, words, and deeds. I fall short more than I care to admit but thank God for His grace and patience.
Humility is an important attribute of a believer in Christ. Merriam Webster defines humility as “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; freedom from pride or arrogance; the quality of state of being humble.” We all want to be strong, but strength in God’s kingdom looks much different than what the world has in mind.
Is There Strength in Humility?
James 3:13 talks about demonstrating wisdom by deeds done in humility coming from wisdom. The word here used for humility also means meekness. In the New Testament dictionary of the Key Word Study Bible, it had this to say,
“Meekness, mildness, forbearance. It is a meekness which differs from the usual connotation of the word in English…it is the result of a strong man’s choice to control his reactions in submission to God. It is balance born in strength of character, stemming from confident trust in God, not from weakness or fear.”
James 3 in its entirety helps us in understanding the importance of taming our tongue and seeking wisdom from above that can only come from God. Humility cannot be found in selfish ambition or in our own understanding.
James 3:17 tells us the wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, impartial, and sincere. Verse 18 reminds us of Christ’s righteousness with which we are now clothed as believers in Christ, and this righteousness we demonstrate in good works resulting from salvation partners with peace.
This is quite convicting. The example of social media and responses is simply one example of a multitude in the span of our days where we can glorify Christ in our words and deeds. It is also easy to see the lack of peace in posts and comments, and with that, the lack of Christ’s righteousness on display through us as His people.
We most certainly want to share the truth of the Word of God, and in doing that, we also want to do so in such a way that honors God and demonstrates we have been made new by Christ.
That newness is seen in submitting to God’s ways and choosing humility over arrogance and pride. That newness is pausing before speaking and responding rather than reacting with our emotions. It is sometimes easier said than done.
However, this is also quite encouraging, and it is encouraging because as believers in Christ, we are not alone; we are being led by the Spirit of God in these ways. I am not depending on myself to get it right because, without God, I simply cannot do it. I need to rely on His strength in demonstrating humility and gentleness and in understanding that His ways are better.
When I fall short in those moments, which I often do, I ask God to help me in learning from my mistakes and to forgive me for those times when humility waxed cold. Proverbs 22:4 is a great reminder, “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” These riches are spiritual riches and eternal life in Christ.
Is There a Lesson in Humility?
Psalm 25:8-10 says, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His ways. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.”
As disciples of Christ, we are to remain teachable, and we are to keep His covenant and follow His instruction. He has instructed us through His Word in the ways in which we should walk, and humility is part of this walk.
Prideful people cannot be led by God. Notice how it says He guides the humble in what is right. He teaches them because they are teachable.
I am so thankful to belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. God is truly faithful, loving, gracious, kind, and merciful. Walking in humility crucifies our flesh, and it is countercultural. The temptation to be prideful is prevalent.
Responding to opposing views and having thoughtful and engaging conversations with others is something we should be doing. There will be times when things are said in a negative connotation toward us, and we will have to choose how to respond, or if a response is even warranted or will be fruitful and glorifying to God.
There will be times when such a response is necessary, and when it is, we want to demonstrate humility and our submission to God in our conduct. We want to testify of Christ in all we do so that we bring Him glory, and we want to speak the truth in love.
When we fall short in our conduct, we ask the Lord to help us by His Spirit and to remain teachable, trusting that He strengthens us in our weakness through humility.
For further reading:
Why Is Humility Seen as Weakness?
What Is the Meaning of Humility? Why Should We Be Humble?
Does Pride Really Go Before the Fall? (Proverbs 16:18)
What Does the Bible Say about Haughty Eyes?
Why Should Nothing Be Done Out of Selfish Ambition?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes
Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.