true humility

true humility


Philippians 2:1-4
Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).


How did Jesus demonstrate His humility as revealed in Philippians 2:5-8?


How would you grade yourself on how well you’re avoiding selfish ambition and vainglory, while also thinking of others positively and putting their needs before your own? What needs to change?

The story is told of a man who was so humble that his city council decided to honor him with a medallion for his humility. A week after the award ceremony, the award had to be withdrawn. Much to the embarrassment of the council, the man had brashly worn the medallion everywhere he went.

This humorous story reminds me of what mystery writer Helen Nielsen once wrote: “Humility is like underwear, essential, but indecent if it shows.” According to Bible teacher John Stott, humility is “the rarest and fairest of all Christian virtues.” It’s also the chief Christian virtue because it’s the exact opposite of the worst of sins—pride.

So, is true humility possible? What does it look like? In Philippians 2, Paul gives us a portrait of the humble person. He presents four attitudes that help us understand true humility—two negatives to avoid and two positives to follow. Humble people . . .

are not selfish (Philippians 2:3). They do “nothing out of selfish ambition” (Philippians 2:3 NIV). They aren’t self-centered.

do not “try to impress others” (Philippians 2:3). They do “nothing out of vain conceit” (Philippians 2:3 NIV). They don’t seek glory for themselves.

are always “thinking of others as better than [themselves]” (Philippians 2:3). They see the great value in others.

don’t “look out only for [their] own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4). They balance the needs
of others with their own needs.

To be humble, we need to move away from “self” to “others”—pursuing lowliness (Philippians 2:3) and helpfulness (Philippians 2:4). Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe succinctly summed it up: “The humble person is not one who thinks meanly of himself; he simply does not think of himself at all!”

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Ruth 2:1-23

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5 Responses to “true humility”

  1. Thanks KT for the great reminder. Pride will always be the root sin we wrestle with and humility will always be the ‘fairest’ virtue to embody.

  2. tom felten says:

    Love the quote from Helen Nielsen. :) It appears that the person who draws closer and closer to Jesus doesn’t realize that their growing humility. I’s simply a byproduct of their truer view of who God is and who they are in relation to Him.

  3. KT, thanks for this needed reminder. Sometimes I forget to remember this. I think I might print this one and keep it near. I absolutely loved the quote from Nielsen. I know I have been guilty of “indecent exposure” more than I care to remember. The pride/humility issue has many layers, doesn’t it? So, it behooves us to, everyday, submit to the Holy Spirit, the One who Frances Chan calls the shy person of the Godhead (always pointing away from Himself to Jesus). Blessings!

  4. jennifer benson schuldt says:

    KT, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and say thank you for this message. Pride can sneak up on us in so many ways. It’s deceptive because although it is associated with self-focus, we often look right past it as we take inventory of the things we need to work on. Thanks again!

  5. daisymarygoldr says:

    Good post KT and the Warren Wiersbe quote is great! The humble person who simply does not think of himself at all has the attitude of Christ. Humble people are those who are humble before God. Humbling ourselves before God is to submit ourselves to Him. And submission leaves no room for selfish ambition.

    Sometimes it is hard to remain humble especially when God has blessed us with good things and talents. Personally to prevent this, the one thing I ask God in my daily prayer is to keep me humble. And in response He allows failures and circumstances to keep me humble. When my ego is wounded, it is good for me as it brings a much needed humility into my life.

    To think of others as better than ourselves does not mean that I will let my husband think he can cook better than me when the reality is he does not. It means to regard him as the better person. This is how we value others and consider their needs as more important than ours.

    In order to esteem others and think positively of them, our perception about self has to change. When we recognize that everything we are and have belongs to God, we will not be self-centered. When we know that our competence comes from God, we will not try to impress others to gain glory for ourselves. Bottom line is: True humility is possible only when we have a proper perspective of ourselves before God.

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