I have never understood what it means, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
What in the world does it really mean?
I used to think it meant to put yourself down or belittle yourself.
In his marvelous little book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, Timothy Keller gives an amazing picture of what humility looks like for Christians and what pride truly is.
I want to look at just a couple things in this book about humility. But, you MUST check out this book. For all you non-readers out there, it’s only 50 pages. Short and sweet.
Pride is empty, painful, busy, and fragile. It’s empty because it has nothing at its center, painful because it has something wrong with it, busy because it’s constantly pointing to self, and fragile because it’s in danger of being deflated.
Pride in essence is all about self. That’s why it’s so empty, painful, busy and fragile. That’s why pursuits of riches, fame and greatness end up falling short. It’s why we compare ourselves to others. It’s all about me, myself and I.
C.S. Lewis says, “For pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”
What’s the solution?
As Christ followers, humility should be one of the most developed and practiced character traits of all time.
But what is it? Putting yourself down?
Humility is not putting yourself down, or even being quiet. (But being quiet is a good idea for most of us, sometimes, myself included.)
Humility is self-forgetfulness. Not thinking less or more of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
You put value on what God says about you rather than others. You are constantly thinking of what others need instead of yourself. You’re thinking of yourself less.
That brings us to another important point. No other view of you matters except God’s.
God’s view is the only one that matters. Timothy Keller says:
“You see, the verdict is in. And now I perform on the basis of the verdict. Because He loves me and He accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my resume. I do not have to do things to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them…. With every other form of identity and every other ‘badge’ or accolade we might award ourselves it is always a case of the verdict coming from the performance…. But in Christianity, the verdict can give you the performance…. Because Jesus was on trial instead. Jesus went into the courtroom. He was on trial. It was an unjust trial in a kangaroo court- but he did not complain. Like a lamb before the shearers, He was silent. He was struck, beaten, put to death. Why? As our substitute He took the condemnation we deserve; He faced the trial that should be ours so that we don’t have to face anymore trials. So I simply need to ask God to accept me because of what the Lord Jesus has done. Then, the only person whose opinion counts looks at me and He finds me more valuable than all the jewels in the earth.”His verdict does not depend on our performance, as all other ways of acceptance. No, the verdict is dependent on what Christ did on the cross.
We can practice humility because of the verdict Christ gave us on the cross. He sees us as precious, so we don’t need to flaunt our prideful, self-glorifying deeds to seek acceptance.
I challenge you today to cultivate humility. Think of others more, and yourself less. And, you will find, humility is easier than you think. It’s not some secret formula, it’s simply putting others’ needs before your own.
Bio: Grace Maples is a homeschooled high school student from Knoxville, TN. She adores traveling, writing nonfiction and historical fiction, playing piano and guitar, and reading great books. She and her family are serving on the mission field in East Africa. She loves Jesus, and seeks to glorify Him with her life. You can find her at Proclaiming His Excellencies blogging about her journey with her Savior and her current WIP.