Becoming humble

Becoming like Christ is a full-time, life-long pursuit. It is a journey which includes both forward and backward movement. Times of advancement and times of stagnation should be expected. It is important to understand that this “walk” with Christ which we are on is our life’s work. We must continue to press forward. While perfectly emulating Christ is impossible, it is likely that some aspects of Christ’s life may be easier to imitate than others.

Humility is one quality of Christ that requires dedication and persistence. Acquiring humility is difficult, for the moment when you think you have it, it is gone. It is also difficult because the world is so devoid of humility. The absence of humility gives us all the more reason to develop and demonstrate a humble life.

How can we become humble?

Use the appropriate standard

It is dangerous to compare ourselves to others. Paul tells us that those doing so are “without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12). The surest way to swell your ego is to compare yourself to someone of your own choosing. The surest way to depress yourself is to compare yourself to someone of another’s choosing.

We ought not to think of ourselves as nothing, but we also ought not to think of ourselves more highly than we should (Romans 12:3). Rather than using others for the standard, we should use the word of God. As a teacher compares test answers with one standard, so we are to examine ourselves in light of Scripture (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Trust in the grace of God

Paul was hard on himself. He considered himself to be the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) and the “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9). While Paul’s self-appraisal may appear harsh to us, he understood that God’s grace saved and forgave him. His service was valuable because Christ died for him (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Focus on serving others

If we wish to be “great” we must be a servant. Jesus came to serve not to be served. If it is true of the Lord, surely it must be true of his disciples (Mark 10:42-45). We serve others best by valuing them properly. In humility we are to “count others more significant than [ourselves].” It isn’t that we ignore our needs, but we are to “look not only to [our own] interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians. 2:3-4). Consider their needs prior to your own. Consider their value greater than your own.

Shower others with honor

Should we compete with fellow Christians spiritually? Perhaps in only one area: the demonstration of honor to others. The ESV translates the second half of Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” The NET Bible indicates we should show “eagerness in honoring one another.” Picture racing to the door to open it for another, or speaking up quickly to deflect praise from yourself onto another. If you wish to develop humility, lead the way in showing honor to others.

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