What is Humility?

Often we don’t like the word humility. We think we must lower ourselves in relation to others in order to be humble. Perhaps we feel we must be less “excitable” about any success or achievement. To some humility means unconfident or unassertive. Sometimes we even view humility as a sign of weakness.

But what really is humility? And why is it so important for each of us?

Humility is having a modest estimate of one’s own importance. It is a Godly perspective of self – not a sign of weakness.

Humility is strength under God’s control. According to James 4:6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” The less you believe you need grace the less you care about it due to having a high view of self. In other words, the less you think about God’s grace, the less you recognize your need for it.

Many of us feel fine just the way we are or maybe don’t trust God to do more with our current situation. We strive to be seen as righteous, but we are living for self.

In James 4:6-10, James is calling his readers to repentance. It is a call to believe and draw near to God. The word James uses for “opposes”, in verse 6, is the Greek word “antitasso” which means, “To range in battle against”. So James 4:6 actually reads, “God is in battle against the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

You can’t understand grace without brokenness over our sin. Romans 5:20 says, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Being broken over our sin is key to a humble heart.

Live Out Humility Everyday

So, what must we do to live in humility and what does that look like in our every day based on James 4:7-10?

1. Submit to God and let go of self.

We must willingly submit to the sovereignty of God. When you submit to God you stand against the devil. Satan departs when we come under the lordship of Christ and submission flows out of humility.

2. Resist the devil and go on the offensive.

Fight against and stand firm, don’t just turn and run. We must not only defend our spiritual ground but also go on the offensive and take new territory for Christ.

In your marriage, don’t wait for it to crumble or simply put on a bandage and hope for the best. Rebuild it with humility, strength, and the power of Jesus’ love.

Don’t just sit back and watch your business barely make it. Call on God for help and direction and fight for how you know it should function.

3. Draw near to God.

Allow God’s word to sit in you. Don’t just read the Bible for facts and figures. Read the Bible to gaze upon God, to see his glory.

Teach your kids to gaze upon God. You get one shot at teaching them to fall in love with the beauty of the Bible. Fight for them to know His greatness.

4. Cleanse your hands and heart.

Change your actions and repent both outwardly and inwardly. Pay attention to your true desires and make sure they are righteous. Don’t ask God to alter His desires to be like yours, ask that your desires become like His.

5. Grieve over sin.

Allow your sin to break your heart, particularly pride. The sin of pride is found in our craving for superiority over those around us. Pride can manifest itself as unwarranted confidence in one’s own abilities. Pride was the most alarming of the deadly sins and inevitably sits us in direct opposition to God.

Be Overwhelmed by God’s Grace

We are called to humble ourselves before the Lord (James 4:10). It takes discipline to stay in God’s word, it takes intentionality to resist the devil, it takes honesty to recognize sin in our lives, and it takes perspective to grieve over sin. Even if your heart doesn’t feel ready, do the Godly until your heart catches up. Identify and repent of sin, live in humility and be overwhelmed by God’s grace.

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