Do you want to know how to achieve real humility? If yes, you need to read this blog. Let me share with you the 5 important keys on how to be humble.
A riddle was once asked to me and it goes like this:
If you think you have it, you probably don’t.
If you have it, you probably won’t know it.
If you don’t know the answer, let me tell you. The answer is humility.
Perhaps, among the most difficult virtues to achieve in this life is true humility. As humans, we tend to become proud be it in the midst of difficulties or successes. In this world where humility and meekness are equated to weakness, it is not difficult to see why we don’t see a lot of humble people in our society.
Thankfully, the Bible gives us instructions on how to achieve true humility. In the writings of Paul, we could read:
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:3-8).
Let us digest these verses and obtain the 5 keys to true humility.
Key no. 1: Do nothing through selfish ambition
The first key to humility is to stop having selfish ambitions.
Now, having an ambition or goal in life is not bad of itself. However, the problem happens when you have the wrong motivation.
The Apostle Paul mentioned that there are two major ways we can have selfish ambition. It is through strife and vainglory.
In the Old King James, selfish ambition is rendered as strife. It came from the Greek word, eritheia, which means, contention and faction. It basically means that you use strife to advance your own interest.
The Apostle Paul was instructing the Philippian brethren as well as Christians today to do things for the general good and not just for the select few or for yourself.
Some church members and even leaders use strife to fulfill their selfish ambition. They knowingly or unknowingly start debates or discussions simply to show their intellect or superiority above others. They cause division among brethren, forming intimate and small groups who will side with their opinion.
Aside from strife, you could be guilty of having selfish ambition through vainglory.
Vainglory came from the Greek word, kenodoxia. It means empty glorying or self-conceit. The idea is that some people achieve their selfish ambitions by drawing attention to themselves rather than on God.
They try to parade their good works to the point that they become like the Pharisees, who do their good works to be seen by men. On the surface, they may look righteous, but a closer look will reveal a selfish and hypocritical person.
Albert Barnes eloquently puts it:
Probably there is no command of the Bible which would have a wider sweep than this, or would touch on more points of human conduct, it fairly applied.
Who is there who passes a single day without, in some respect, desiring to display himself? What minister of the gospel preaches, who never has any wish to exhibit his talents, eloquence, or learning? How few make a gesture, but with some wish to display the grace or power with which it is done!
Who, in conversation, is always free from a desire to show his wit, or his power in argumentation, or his skill in repartee?
Who plays at the piano without the desire of commendation? Who thunders in the senate, or goes to the field of battle; who builds a house, or purchases an article of apparel; who writes a book, or performs a deed of benevolence, altogether uninfluenced by this desire?
If all could be taken out of human conduct which is performed merely from “strife,” or from “vain-glory,” how small a portion would be left!
That sounds a bit harsh, but that’s the reality.
Being proud and puffed up are undeniable parts of our human nature. As difficult as it may sound, we must overcome our human nature and that includes our selfish ambition.
We need to remember that we are all part of the same body. We need to act as one and not separately. Causing strife and division for the sole purpose of gaining position or looking superior shouldn’t be part of the church.
Moreover, if we want to do good works, our motivation should be correct. It should not to impress others and show them how good and righteous you are. Let God reward us of our good works and not other people.
Key no. 2: Let things be done in lowliness of mind
Lowliness of mind simply means humility.
Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, said:
“Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.”
There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Some people mistakenly thought that if they consider themselves as the most pitiable, unfortunate, and useless person, they could become humble.
Obviously, this kind of thinking is false and faulty.
True humility comes from the realization that we are nothing apart from God. If you think about it, we are nothing but dust and dirt from the ground.
Our lives are fleeting. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Each and every one of us came to this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing.
In the grand scheme of life, there’s really nothing we can boast about!
Our focus is not on ourselves but should be on God and others. This leads us to the third key to attaining true humility.
Key no. 3: Esteem others more than yourself
Here’s a crucial element of humility that we need to take note of. We must take our focus off ourselves and concentrate it on others.
Esteeming others means to RESPECT them. No matter what your station in life is, even if you are wealthier or more influential, this does not mean that you deserve more respect than other people.
Esteeming others also mean that you give value to others. You don’t simply dismiss people just because they are young or old, or because they simply don’t have material possessions.
When we talk to others, we must not try to dominate the conversation as if we are the only one who has an opinion.
Everyone has their own story to tell or share. Just like you, no matter who they are, you can still learn something new from them.
Key no. 4: Be genuinely be concerned with others
The Apostle Paul goes on to say, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
As humans, we tend to simply focus on our needs. However, if we want to get rid of pride and become humble, we must also look after the interests of others.
We need to find ways to serve one another. We must grab every opportunity to do good and be a blessing to others. Even if we don’t get anything in return, we must still choose to serve.
When we see others rejoice, we must also rejoice along with them. We must not try to belittle their accomplishment or make fun of them.
When we see others suffer, we must also suffer with them. There are more things we can do in addition to praying for them.
Key no. 5: Follow Christ’s example
Finally, the fifth key to true humility is to follow Christ’s example. Our standard should be Yahshua (or popularly known as Jesus) and not other people.
Yahshua showed us what it truly means to be humble. From His heavenly throne, He willingly gave up His divine position and became a mere man.
He was born not in a palace, but in a lowly place. He unjustly suffered and died as a criminal. He was treated like an animal, an outcast, and even a sinner. He became a servant instead of a king.
Yet, in all these, He remained humble and became “obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
If you have any doubt of how to achieve true humility, you don’t need to look elsewhere, because you can always study Yahshua’s life and learn from Him.
These are the 5 undeniable keys to true humility.
It might be difficult to achieve true humility given with our natural tendency to be filled with pride, but God expects us to do our best.
With these 5 keys, it is my sincerest hope that you and I would one day attain true and genuine humility. Let us do our best to be better in this aspect of life.