“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering”
The third article of spiritual clothing that God wants us to put on is “humility.”
“Humility” is an orientation to the grace of God. The primary idea of humility in the Bible is humility toward God and secondarily toward man. Humility towards God carries the idea that everything we have, we received from God’s grace.
The word “humble” means lowliness of mind. Jesus applied this term to Himself in Matthew 11:29. Humility is the opposite of arrogance. Humbleness of mind means we have the proper estimation or evaluation of ourselves. Most of us have an exaggerated assessment of our ability, capacity, worth, and gifts. No one else shares such an exalted estimation of us as we hold of ourselves. We overrate ourselves, but no one else overvalues us. We tend to think more highly of ourselves than others do.
The opposite assertion is not valid either, the idea that we are to think less of ourselves than what we are. The premise of biblical humility is to hold an accurate estimate of what we actually are, nothing more or less.
Humility is the orientation to God’s grace.
There is both a divine and a human side to humility. On the divine side, God wants us to accept that we are finite creatures dependent upon Him. On the human side, every Christian is of royal lineage; therefore, we should never express arrogance toward each other. In both, humility is a recognition of God’s provision of grace in our lives.
It is difficult for us to care about others when we do not clothe ourselves with the garment of humbleness of mind. Pride is the last citadel to capitulate to King Jesus. The contrast to biblical humility is self-sufficient arrogance; we estimate ourselves as superior to other people.
“For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:21).
Humility is not self-depreciation. It instead acknowledges that what we have is from God (orientation to grace). We did not earn our salvation.
“Serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews” (Acts 20:19).
“But in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3).
Humility is not self-effacement. We do not have to wear black and carry a solemn expression to be humble. Humility is not conforming to the accepted customs of society. We do not have to look like an undertaker to be humble! Humility does not mean we must eliminate thinking about ourselves. We need to think about ourselves if we operate adequately as human beings. Am I spiritual if I get up in the morning and come to work without a shower, brushing my teeth, shaving, or combing my hair? No, I am a nut! Obviously, it is not wrong to brush your teeth! Genuine humility is first to recognize what we have, we have from God. And secondly, to relate to others with the sense of God’s grace in our lives.