Humility Week: Compared to Who?

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)

The word humility means different things to different people. It’s easy to think of it as a kind of performance, being careful never to do anything that “sounds” proud or arrogant or stuck up. And it’s true that bragging and smugness aren’t exactly humble. But God cares a lot more about what’s going on in our hearts than on the stage of our external lives.

humility_350Others think of humility as a kind of self-hatred. “I’m so stupid. I’m so ugly. I’m such a jerk.” But that’s not true humility, either. That’s just name-calling, and it is just as self-focused as pride and boasting.

No, humility is best understood as a comparison, but not of our ourselves to others. True humility is found when we compare ourselves to God. Why God? Because he’s the only standard for what is truly good, truly powerful, truly holy, truly intelligent.

Humility is the ability to look at God and myself and realize how deeply sinful I am in comparison to his pure holiness; how fragile in comparison to his limitless power; how short-lived in comparison to his eternal existence; how foolish in comparison to his absolutely perfect understanding the universe. Humility gets that I am nothing apart from him and have everything in relationship with him.

Think: Why does it not make sense to base our view of ourselves on comparisons with other people? If we base our view of ourselves on a comparison to God, how would we most naturally think about ourselves? How would we think about him?

Pray: Ask God to help you to not think of yourself more highly than you should, but to think of yourself with an honest, serious judgment.

Do: Make a quick list of a few of the most humble people you know personally. Think about asking one of them why they seem so humble.