Do you want to experience the good life? Look no further. Just add humility to your day. It’s a key ingredient for the Christian life and, indeed, life in general. Without humility, we are robbed of some of the great joys and virtues of life.
Here are a few aspects of life that require humility.
Friendship requires humility. Chances are you know someone who routinely talks about himself, shares his own problems, and tells you of his future adventures. After a while, you recognize this is a one-way relationship. It’s not only boring, it’s superficial. It doesn’t feel like he cares about you. Don’t be that kind of person. If you want to be a good friend, practice humility. It’s fine to talk about yourself, but a humble person also cares deeply about others. In the course of any relationship, there will be times when one of you goes through a hard time and the focus is on them for a season. Generally, though, healthy relationships are characterized by a give and take. Humility is a key ingredient that makes that possible.
Service requires humility. We’re commanded to serve others. That’s difficult if you are always looking out for yourself. That’s why Scripture tells us to consider others better than ourselves: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4). Notice what quality the passage says is essential to bring about such an attitude: humility.
Feedback requires humility. It’s not easy to receive critical feedback. We don’t like being told we messed up or didn’t do something well. If you want to improve at a skill, though, humility is your friend. You have to be willing to consider that you can improve at something. If you find yourself always getting defensive when people who care about you give you feedback, chances are you’re lacking humility.
Faith requires humility. What does it mean to have faith? The biblical notion of faith is best characterized by trust. We put our trust in him (Jesus) who is trustworthy. That requires us to acknowledge that we have committed crimes against God and deserve to be punished. Not only are we guilty, but we’re incapable of doing anything to resolve our predicament. We’re totally at the mercy of God. That is a humbling situation. It’s only when we acknowledge our incapacity to do anything to save ourselves that we can put our trust in Christ to save us. Accepting that gospel message requires we have humility.
These aspects of life—and many more—require us to develop the virtue of humility. It’s no surprise that Jesus embodied that virtue. It’s also no surprise that we’re commanded to model after him. Paul tells us to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5–8). If we want to see what humility looks like, Jesus is the perfect example.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting humility is an easy character quality to develop. Whatever the cost, though, Scripture teaches us that it’s entirely worth it.