The biblical meaning of humility and its characteristics
In general terms, the humble person has the virtue of knowing their limitations and acts in accordance with that knowledge. In other words, he knows well what he is or is not able to do. However, in the Bible, we see that the humility that we must have the children of God encompasses more.
In this article, we shall be looking together at The biblical meaning of humility and its characteristics
Humility in the bible
The biblical concept of humility refers to having a good understanding of who God is and who we are. This leads us to recognize the work of God in our lives and the fact that he has a purpose for us. Humility in the Christian should always encourage him to live in obedience to God and submit to his will.
In Psalm 8, the psalmist David expresses very well what flows from a humble heart: admiration, gratitude to God, and the disbelief that he has chosen, and wishes to be friends with him.
Like us, David was imperfect. But he knew that he served a perfect God who could help him in everything. David made great mistakes, but he recognized them before God, humbled himself before him, and allowed God to restore him and guide him within his will. We see a clear example of this in Psalm 51 when David, after committing one of his most terrible sins, humbled himself and sought God’s forgiveness.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51: 1-2)
David was not justified. He recognized that he had sinned and appealed to the mercy and mercy of God. He expressed his brokenness and his pain, trusting the goodness of the heavenly Father. His comfort flowed from what he knew about God: God is just and is also merciful, pious, and forgiving. That was David’s trust.
David understood that sin not only affects other people but is a direct affront against God (Psalm 51: 3-4). And that’s how we should see it too. Our perspective is different and we are much more careful in everything we do and in our dealings with others when we realize that our sins are direct offenses against God. They hurt him!
It is there that we begin to act with humility: by recognizing that only God can cleanse us and that he alone can help us to live a perfect life, full of love and forgiveness. We must understand our need for him, for his presence and for the profound transformation that only him can give us.
Read also: The fruits of the Spirit
Jesus, our best example
Although David’s model is excellent and with him, we can learn a lot about humility, but the best model we find in the Bible is that of Jesus, God incarnate. Chapter 2 of Philippians explains it to us very well. There we are encouraged to have the same attitude that Jesus had.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 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. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. (Philippians 2: 5-9)
Let’s look at some characteristics of humility that we can learn with the example of Jesus. Let us evaluate our hearts and ask God to help us grow every day in our likeness to Jesus.
The biblical meaning of humility and its characteristics: 8 characteristics of the humble person
- Does not act under selfish or vain impulses
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit; … (Philippians 2: 3a)
We must analyze our motivation, why we do things. Is it to satisfy our interests and our self-esteem? To be proud of ourselves? If so, we are acting under the wrong attitude. Let us ask God to help us have the right motives (love, genuine interest, compassion), which reflect his heart.
- Consider others as superior to oneself
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2: 3b)
Humility leads us to have an attitude of appreciation and consideration for others. It’s not that we’re going to look down or let them trample us. No! But it will help us to do everything with others in view and talk with respect. Humility will make us treat other people even better than we would like them to treat us.
Read also: Servant leadership
- Takes into account the interests and welfare of others
“not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
(Philippians 2: 4)
Humility gives us a broader vision that includes the well-being of the people around us. It helps us think about what we can do to help and bless the collective: family, friends, church, neighborhood, humanity. It creates in us a feeling of being part of something bigger and leads us to play out our role in the improvement of the lives of others.
- Strives to be more like Jesus
“ In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 2: 5)
The humble cast aside their emotions or desires and concentrate on being more like Jesus. He humbly submits himself at the feet of the Master every day because he wishes to act and live in such a way and manner that glorifies him and knows that by his mere efforts, he will not succeed. He therefore daily seek the anointing of the Holy Spirit and thus receive the spiritual strength to make decisions that reflect the character of Christ.
- Does not cling to your rights, possessions or titles
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” (Philippians 2: 5-6)
Jesus was God, but he did not treat others from a position of superiority. He chose to “cast aside” his divine nature and come as a human, he identified with our needs and with our fragility. He did not make claims full of pride, quite the opposite. He showed a genuine interest in others, and his heart was full of love, always ready to serve those around him. We have to do the same.
- Identifies with others and shows empathy
“rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2: 7)
Jesus, even being God, voluntarily chose to come in the form of a man to lower himself and be like us. He identified himself with our struggles, our daily needs, the desires that flow from our hearts. The humble person must identify with the needs and desires of those around him. You should see them as equals and put them in the mirror of how you see yourself.
- Obey God always
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2: 8)
Jesus was willing to obey the Father until death. That is one of the most apparent signs of humility: obedience to God. Obedience reflects total confidence in the love, goodness and faithfulness of God.
- Wait for God to exalt you
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2: 9)
Jesus served people in love. It was not a trade seeking to receive the exaltation of men, or medals and awards. He did everything in obedience to God, knowing that he would receive his reward directly from the Father. So it was. God exalted him to the utmost.
The exaltation that comes from God is eternal and is much higher than any human being can offer us. The person who has a humble heart like Jesus rests in the certainty that the rewards he will receive from God will be more than enough.
You want to grow in humility: follow the biblical meaning of humility revealed by the example of Jesus!
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