“The minute you think you’re humble, you’re not.”
And then there was the guy who was proud of his humility! And why not? He must have worked hard to get it!
Humility has a tough time among the virtues. You recognize qualities like love, peacefulness, prudence, and courage in others and you probably seek to develop these ideals in yourself. You know when you’re making progress and when you’re slacking off.
But humility? How can you know if you’re humble? It would seem that, of all the virtues, humility lies beyond reach. You refute yourself just by claiming that you possess it.
Actually, no. According to the Bible, you can know that you’re humble. You can declare it without contradicting yourself. This may sound startling, but here are three examples.
Jesus called Himself humble. He encouraged people to become His disciples and learn from Him because, as He put it, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). So Christ appreciated His own humility and didn’t hesitate to announce it.
But Jesus is God in the flesh; He’s perfect and unique. No one’s like the Lord. So can He serve as your role model?
Let’s try the apostle Paul. He recounted the trials of his ministry among the Ephesians as “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears” (Acts 20:19). Not just humility, mind you; all humility! I guess Paul had mastered this humility business!
That makes two. Jesus and Paul proclaimed their humility devoid of arrogance.
But what about ordinary Christians?
The apostle Peter instructed all believers to “be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8). He excluded no one; those who follow Christ should be as cognizant of their humility as they are of their compassion toward others.
As odd as this may appear, the Bible insists that people can know that they’re humble. But that’s the problem – it sounds weird; it doesn’t feel right.
Maybe the real issue isn’t about humility. The deeper concern has to do with the source of spiritual values. Where do they come from? How do you become a more loving person, a more kind-hearted individual, a more patient soul?
According to Galatians 5:22-23, virtue comes from God. Christlike character derives from the Holy Spirit. If love, joy, and peace, grow in you, it will be due to the working of God’s Spirit. He deserves the credit!
If you ascribe to the Lord the development of these virtues in your life, don’t leave out humility. The Spirit fosters that grace just as He does the others.
That’s why you’re not bragging if you know you have humility. You didn’t create it; you’re merely acknowledging that virtue comes from God. Don’t deny it; instead, thank the Lord for making you more like Jesus!