Truth for Young Believers: Humility (Part 2)

Ιn part one, we defined what is meant in Scripture by humility, or lowliness of mind. We saw how this chief of all virtues is really the idea of having the correct view, God’s view, of ourselves, our worth, and our abilities, especially in comparison to Him. I also made the case that humility is of great value to God. So how should this virtue, so precious to God, and this attitude, which takes God’s assessment of ourselves, impact our lives?

Humility in the Life of the Believer

Humility is critical in conversion. Without humility a sinner will never abandon pride in self, acknowledge the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and accept a salvation to which one can contribute nothing. The sinner will not repent and believe the gospel while saying, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people.”

For the believer, humility is also critical in our approach to the Word. Do we approach Scripture with pride in our own knowledge or with an attitude of “chronological snobbery”? Do we read our 21st century norms into Scripture? Do we interpret or appropriate Scripture to say what we want it to say, or do we allow the text to speak for itself as the infallible, unchangeable, inspired Word of God? We are to “receive with meekness [i.e., ‘with humility’] the implanted word” (Jas 1:21).[1]

Our walk, or our personal relationship with the Lord, is also to be marked by “lowliness of mind.” We are instructed to “humble [ourselves] under the mighty hand of God” (1Pe 5:6). Paul encouraged the Colossian believers to “put on … humility” (Col 3:12). Are our prayers pro forma, or do we truly seek help and guidance from the Lord? The proud need no help, but the humble will acknowledge dependence on God and seek Him in prayer. God may align circumstances or answer prayer differently than we had imagined it, but we should humbly accept His plan.

Lastly, we should be characterized by humility in our witness, or our interaction with others. We are told to “walk in a manner worthy of [your] calling … with all humility” (Eph 4:1-2), and also to “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Php 2:3). Humility leads a husband and wife to value the other more than themselves. Humility enables an assembly to function, with all its various parts working in harmony. The eye would not say to the foot, “I have no need of you.” Would there be division in an assembly if we first judged our own motives and actions before God? Would a dose of humility help us see the unsaved as God sees them, and remind us that we once walked as they do?

Although never praised as part of the fruit of the Spirit nor expressly commanded in the Law, humility is truly the chief of all virtues. Humility is a necessity for both salvation and sanctification. How can someone accept Christ’s work on the cross if he cannot take his place as a helpless sinner? How can we grow in our Christian lives if we fail to acknowledge our lack?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Php 2:5 KJV), and let us strive to have an attitude of humility toward God, His Word, and our fellow man, who is made in God’s image.

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.