Does the Bible teach about how to humble yourself?Humility has been described as having an accurate estimation of oneself. It is not a position of self-loathing or self-abasement, nor is it humiliation. Rather, it is simply seeing with clear eyes. When we understand who God is, we can know who we are in relationship to Him. We see His holiness and we see our sin; we understand our utter inability to atone for having gone against God or to stop sinning by our own efforts. When we recognize our need, we can also recognize the great gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Because of His grace and love, God provides a way for the relationship that was broken in the garden of Eden to be restored (Genesis 3). He offers atonement and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose back to life. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8–10).
When we are saved, we receive the Holy Spirit who transforms us and helps us live according to God's ways. We learn what it means to be humble and why that is the best attitude for us to have. We learn that because we belong to God we are holy and beloved, and in response, we should express "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" (Colossians 3:12). And that we are "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God" (Micah 6:8); and behave "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2). While the work of transformation is ultimately the Holy Spirit's domain, it is also incumbent upon believers to participate with Him in that work (Philippians 2:12–13). So how can we humble ourselves?
One way is through reading God's Word and acting on what we read. His Word (the Bible) is our standard for truth. It reveals who He is and how we should live as a result. As previously stated, when we better understand who God is, we better understand who we are, and humility results. God's Word helps us as we seek to follow the instructions of Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." The world system often encourages prideful thoughts and behaviors, but God's Word helps correct our thinking and gives us an accurate idea of our hearts and the value of others around us.
Jesus' teaching helps us know how to be humble. Jesus said the greatest commandment was, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37–39). Similarly, Jesus told His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34–25). Being humble begins with loving God and loving others.
God clarifies this command throughout the Bible by helping us to understand what loving others looks like. We are told to, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3); that God finds selfishness to be foolish (Luke 12:13–21); that we should seek the good of others (Proverbs 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Romans 15:2) and not our own gain (Psalm 119:36; Mark 8:34); and that we should not think of ourselves better than we actually are (Romans 12:3, 16; Mathew 23:10–12; Philippians 2:5–8).
Jesus is the perfect model of humility and Paul, in his letter to the church in Philippi, tells the people that because they are "united with Christ" they should "have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5–7). Jesus is God, yet He humbly lived and served His Father every moment of every day. Jesus even died for the sake of humanity because of His love for His Father and their love for the world (John 3:16). Paul reveals that Jesus did not think of Himself more than He could have, being God Himself, but He gave up everything for the Father, and He became a servant instead of a king. Jesus said, "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). If we are to love like Him (John 13:34–35), we, too, should serve others in a way that truly seeks their best. It takes humility to understand that the love God has for us is the same love we are to pour out to others. The more we receive His love for us, the more we live in humility toward Him and can humbly love others. Pride looks at itself in the mirror, humility looks at Jesus.
Perhaps one of the best ways to avoid pride and to embrace humility is through gratefulness. We are encouraged to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and to "Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 106:1). We will no longer try to convince ourselves that we are the center of the universe when we "Set [our] minds on things that are above, not on things that are earth"(Colossians 3:2). God alone is worthy and He rightfully belongs on His throne and we do not. This is the best, most satisfying, and the only way to live in humility with God and with others.
Briefly stated, the answer to the question of how to humble yourself is to read God's Word to know Him better, believe God, and respond accordingly with a grateful heart.
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