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What Is Humility?

Beauty of the night sky reminds us of God's greatness and our need for humility
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt

(By Angela Watson)

My daughter is part of a girls’ club, and at the start of each event, the leader asks the question, “What does the Lord require of you?” and the girls all recite together, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

As I’ve listened to them doing their best to stay in sync, with some online and others in person, I’ve wondered what it really means to “walk humbly with God.”

Like me, you could quote several verses about humility. The Bible addresses this topic frequently enough that, as Christians, we understand it’s essential, but do we really know what it means? Is it a familiar but rather abstract concept to us?

What is humility?

Merriam-Webster defines humility as freedom from pride or arrogance. The book of Proverbs warns that God will humble those full of pride and arrogance (Proverbs 16:5).

Christian author CS Lewis defined humility as “not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”

To walk humbly with God requires us to see ourselves in the context of God and others.

It starts with realizing that we are not God.

God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere at all times). He never slumbers or sleeps. He is perfect and just. He created each one of us, in His image , and He knows us thoroughly (Psalm 121, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 18:30, Colossians 1:16, Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139).

Philippians 2:3-4 addresses how we should view others: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

This chapter in Philippians also provides us with the ultimate example of humility — Christ’s. Jesus, who himself is God, was willing to become a servant and be obedient to God the Father (Philippians 2:5-8, John 1:1).

Seeing ourselves in context shifts our focus to God, Our Creator, Our Sustainer, and Our Provider, who, out of His abundance, gives us everything we need for this life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

Walking humbly with God means being entirely dependent on and obedient to His will, just as Christ “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8b).

Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, demonstrated what it was to fully submit to the will of God when he prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).

Today I pray that we would see ourselves in relation to who God is, consider others, recognize our limitations and be willing to surrender to God’s will and walk utterly dependent on Him.


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