Volume. XXXVII, No. 4
Sunday, 24 July 2022

Humility—The Elusive Virtue Part 2




The humble man makes no claims on God, but knows that God has claims on him. He listens to what God has to say. People who talk and don't listen usually are not humble. When we need to have our ideas exalted and followed we become bitter when they are rejected. But humility leads to gratitude and graciousness when our ideas are accepted.


Doing things God's way is directly opposed to a society in which everyone does as he sees fit (Judges 21:25) and raises children who demand their own way. Paul talks about having rights (1 Cor 9), but gives them up for a higher cause far above his rights for a mate, leisure, and money. It's not that the humble let others trample over them, but that they recognize and subject themselves to higher purposes. People of principle, not weakness, of wisdom, not stupidity, and with vision and knowledge of what it takes to get a job done do not demand their rights (1 Cor 9:12).


"behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zech 9:9). Jesus Christ lived by this principle. So must we. God is never impressed with me, but He is with the work of His Son.


But why does God need to humble those already humbled by their sin? He does it for the same reason He had to humble a people already humbled by their slavery—their humility was only external and was really defeat in spirit, not true humility.


True humility is demonstrated when you have something and give it up voluntarily. It is also shown by not praising yourself even if you deserve praise (Prov 27:2), by serving the undeserving (Matt 20:26), by not choosing the place of prominence (Luke 14:10), by letting God vindicate you (Luke 12), and by submission to elders (1 Pet 5:5–6).


Most of us have been kidded about our lack of humility at one time or another with a comment like, "Didn't you write that book Humility and How I Obtained It?" In writing this article, I asked myself, "Should I write it anonymously in order to be more humble?" These are just the beginning of the confusion and conflict that pride and humility, gifts and self-glory, responsibility and self-importance bring.


Usually if we are humble we don't realize it. The moment we consider ourselves humble we are surely wrong. We become proud of our humility, and so lose it. It is usually easier to tell why someone does not show humility than why he does. If he is self-centered, stubborn, or a show-off, misuses authority or position, or compensates for fears and insecurities, he probably is not humble.




What humbles you? For me, it's the realization of my prideful behavior, of my insignificance in the world, of my failures, sinfulness, and unworthiness of the blessings of God.


Does someone have to be convicted of sin and pride, unworthy of blessing, insignificant, and a failure to be truly humble' No, the real question is, "Am I willing to pay the price of becoming a humble person of God?" "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life." (Prov 22:4). Like everything brought by God, humility is worth it because it brings rich joy, friendship, and love. What joy it is to see others want to walk with Him because they see our abundant life in Him and want to have that, too!


We proudly say with the Psalmist, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalm 84:10), but we resist the calling of Christians to wash each other's feet (John 13).


Recently I heard of a company commander on a Navy base who had a sailor with the rank of P-4 who refused to clean his room. The sailor said cleaning rooms was beneath a sailor of his rank. The commander asked what rank should clean rooms, and the sailor said none above a P-3. "You are now a P-3," the commander said, "so-go clean your room!" What a contrast from the centurion who said, "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof" (Matt 8:8), or John the Baptist, who said, " . . . but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose" (Luke 3:16)!


Those who have comprehended the "sentence of death" in themselves also realize it is so that " . . . we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (2 Cor 1:9). Trials and affliction should bring all men to worship at the throne with humility, but the hardness of a prideful heart produces bitterness, not the humility that should characterize people made of clay.


"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:3).



From November/December 1984 (Issue #24) of Discipleship Journal

More Lively Hope



  • Batam Appeal: An amount of $3,320 still needed. Please designate offerings with ‘Batam Appeal’.
  • Working Bee and HBC: The next few working bees will involve preparation for HBC. Please come and help as it will be in additional to the usual duties in working bee.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Gappi Filadelfia’s 18th Anniversary Thanksgiving (Batam)
  • Journey mercies: those who have travelled.
  • Those who have recovered from COVID.



  • Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & family, GAPPI Filadelfia Church, orphanage, kindergarten & primary school.
  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Pong Sen Yiew.
  • Journey mercies: those who are travelling.



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