(10) Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. (11) All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”Luke 14:10-11 (CEB)
The Victory in Virtue Series
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. As I start to wrap this series up, I’ve decided to return to the Virtues for today. Today’s post is on the Virtue of Humility.
The Virtue of Humility is one of the greatest Virtues there is, as it was taught to us by Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus was the perfect example of Humility, showing through His actions how to be Humble and serve others. And He taught us the importance of being Humble, which is that God opposes the proud and lifts up the Humble. “All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.“
So what does it mean to make ourselves low, and take the place of least importance? Read on, and let’s talk about it.
What Is the Virtue of Humility?
Humility. Noun: a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.
Here’s a more detailed explanation from the Wikipedia page for Humility.
Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue which centers on low self-preoccupation, or unwillingness to put oneself forward, so it is in many religious and philosophical traditions, it contrasts with narcissism, hubris and other forms of pride […].https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility
That last part shows what makes Humility so important for us as Christians. Humility is the opposite of pride, one of the worst vices there is and the original sin of Lucifer himself. Being prideful, exalting ourselves above God and all others and never submitting to any power, is a satanic attitude. The Virtue of Humility is the antidote to pride, and keeps us safe from that deadly vice.
Remember that when we fall to the vice of pride, we’re in opposition to God. God opposes the proud, but favors the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34). Scripture tells us how important it is to be Humble, and to have Humility.
(6) But he gives us more grace. This is why it says, “God stands against the proud, but favors the humble”.James 4:6 (CEB)
When we have Humility, we don’t exalt ourselves above anyone else. We don’t put ourselves first; we put others first. We recognize and take care of the needs of others. We help people. A prideful person doesn’t do these things (without an ulterior motive), because they only think of themselves. It’s a matter of attitude. The prideful person exalts themselves. The Humble person puts others first and is OK with coming last.
But this doesn’t mean the Humble person hates themselves or anything like that. They’re only thinking of themselves less. Pastor Rick Warren said this in his book, The Purpose Driven Life.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
This is important to note, because Humility does not mean we hate or dislike ourselves! It only means thinking of others more and being OK with getting less or even nothing so others can get what they need. It’s taking the last place, the least place, like our Savior taught us. And on that note, our Savior Jesus Christ was the pinnacle of Humility. In His behavior all throughout the Gospels, He showed He loved everyone equally, no matter their status or anything else. He was kind to all, especially hated sinners and outcasts.
Jesus taught us to Humble ourselves. He taught us to take the least important place. This is because all who lift themselves up will be brought low, and all who Humble themselves will be lifted up.
We must always look to see how we can “take the last place” in any situation. Maybe it means stepping back to give others a chance to show their talents and skills to solve a problem. A chance to shine. Maybe it means turning down some praise we receive to ensure the person who truly deserves the praise gets recognized. Or maybe it can be as simple as stepping aside so someone else can get in line for something before we do. All these things show the Virtue of Humility, because it shows we’re thinking of others first, and giving up something for them or serving them.
Take the last place, this well-known teaching on Humility, can be found in Luke 14 and elsewhere.
(8) “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. (9) The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place. (10) Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. (11) All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”Luke 14:8-11 (CEB)
Speaking of His own Humility, Jesus told the Disciples when they argued at the last supper that “the greatest” must Humble themselves and become like a servant. Jesus told them that He Himself came to them as a servant, one who serves.
(24) An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest.Luke 22:24-27 (CEB)
(25) But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ (26) But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. (27) So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
We must listen to what our Savior says, and place importance on the Virtue of Humility like He taught us. We must follow His example, becoming a servant to others like He became a servant to us.
Philippians 2 also has a famous passage about Jesus and Humility. And this passage shows one important aspect of the Virtue of Humility—submission.
(3) Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. (4) Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. (5) Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:Philippians 2:3-9 (CEB)
(6) Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
(7) But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
(8) he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
(9) Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,
Jesus didn’t fight His fate, even His death on the cross. He submitted to His death, with Humility. I wrote more about this in Part 57 of Do Not Fear the End Times.
This submission to God and others is one way to Humble ourselves, so it’s one way to show the Virtue of Humility.
First, we must always show submission to God. Like Jesus, we need to accept our fate, and accept what God has given us in life. We must show Humble submission to God by thanking Him for His blessings, obeying His Word, and Patiently enduring the suffering He gives us without complaining. We must honor His will above our own.
Next, we must show Humble submission to others too. We do this in a few ways. We must be of service to our fellow humans, as Christ showed us through His example. Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). We too must serve and help others like He taught us. Also, we must listen and obey those who are in legitimate positions of leadership over us. That could mean the leader of a family, a group, a country, it could mean a lot of things.
We must follow God first, but after Him, legitimate leaders here on earth should be followed as long as they don’t tell us to do anything unBiblical. Submitting to that leadership is one way to be Humble, like how Jesus Humbled Himself to the Romans and let them arrest Him.
If we ever wonder about how to be Humble, let’s turn to the Gospels. Jesus was the perfect example of Humility. Let’s reflect on His example and think of how we can show Humility like He did. Let’s figure out how we can take the least important place in every situation we face. Then we’ll stay Humble before God and others.
Besides doing that, prayer is one of the best ways to cultivate the Virtue of Humility. So let’s now look at some prayers for gaining the Virtue of Humility.
Prayers for the Virtue of Humility
There are many prayers we could pray to receive the Virtue of Humility. The best ones of course will be the ones that we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.
Praying for a Virtue is a great way to build it up. It’s one of the best ways, actually. So here are a few short, simple prayers for the Virtue of Humility you can try adding to your prayer routine.
How Can I Take the Last Place?
Jesus taught us to take the last place, the least important place. But this direct instruction from Him applies in more situations than seats at a dinner table. It can apply in almost every situation. Meaning, in almost every situation there’s a way to place others first, higher than ourselves. In almost every situation there’s a way for us to show the Virtue of Humility. All we have to do is think, be observant, and figure out how we can do it.
That calls for Wisdom. And anytime we want Wisdom, all we need to do is pray to God for it, and He gives it out freely (James 1:5). So here’s a quick prayer asking for Wisdom on how to find and take the last place in each situation.
LORD, thank You for the teachings and example of Your Son, Jesus, and His lessons on Humility. Please grant me the Wisdom to follow His teachings in every possible situation. Please grant me the Wisdom to see when, where, and how I can “take the last place” of least importance, to show Humility and place my brothers and sisters first. Please grant me the Wisdom to see new, creative ways to “take the last place” in situations I’ve never thought of before. Please grant me the Wisdom to see how I can be more Humble. Amen.
I Want to See Others Shine
God has given everyone different talents and abilities. Everyone’s good at something. But sometimes, some people get overlooked in a group because their talents aren’t as showy or obvious as others. There will be times when we can show the Virtue of Humility by stepping aside and giving someone else a chance to show their talents. We can let them step up and solve a problem or take the lead on some project using their unique strengths.
In other words, we can show the Virtue of Humility by knowing when to step aside and give others a chance to shine.
The desire to see others shine is rooted in Humility. When we’re prideful, we want to exalt ourselves and be admired. When we’re Humble, we want others to be recognized instead. If we don’t like it when others get to shine and are praised and applauded for it, we have pride instead of Humility.
So here’s a quick prayer asking for Wisdom and Humility on this. Wisdom, to know when and how to let others shine. And Humility, to want from the bottom of our heart to see our brothers and sisters shine.
LORD, thank You that You Righteously oppose the proud and lift up the Humble. Please grant me Humility, so I will want to lower myself while lifting up others. Please grant me the Humility to want to see others shine using their unique God-given gifts. And please grant me the Wisdom to know when and how to step aside and lower myself so others can do this. Convict me in the Spirit, LORD, and grant me unease in my conscience when I’m able to step aside for others but I’m not doing it. Amen.
LORD, Knock Me down a few Pegs
The vice of pride is fatal. Pride was the original sin of Lucifer, that got him kicked out of Heaven before the events of the Bible even started. C.S. Lewis, in his classic book, Mere Christianity, called pride the “anti-God” state of mind. Lewis singled out pride as being more dangerous than anything else, the vice that leads to every other vice.
To avoid the vice of pride, it’s critical that we stay Humble. Pride can creep into our lives so easily. If we exalt ourselves even a little, if we enjoy being praised even a little, if we seek out recognition, even a little … then pride will start to grow in our heart. If we let our Humility weaken even a little, we open the door to pride.
We must always remember that we’re below God, and we’re nothing without Him. We are nothing, and can do nothing, without Him. So He deserves our love, honor, and obedience, and He must be exalted, not us. That comes first. Second, we must always try to place others higher than ourselves when we can. We must think about their needs, following Jesus’ example of service to others. This is the antidote for pride: Put God and others first. The more we do this, the more we’ll want to do this. When we want from the bottom of our heart to put God and others first, then we’ll have a Humble heart.
To that end, here’s a prayer asking for a heart of service and protection from pride.
LORD, thank You that You Righteously oppose the proud and lift up the Humble. I pray You will save me from the deadly sin of pride, the same sin You condemned Lucifer for. Please LORD, convict me in the Spirit when I’m becoming prideful. Grant me unease in my conscience when I exalt myself instead of You. If I exalt myself above others, please “knock me down a few pegs” and place me below others. I ask You to do this so I can learn to serve and think of others first, and that I may learn to love service and Humility toward others. Please heal my heart of pride, LORD, and grant me a Humble heart of service like that of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Again, there are so many options for praying for any Virtue. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.
But once we’re done praying, it’s time to act (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.
Living the Virtue
To cultivate a Virtue, we must also practice it, and do that consistently. Don’t just do it a few times and stop there—stay consistent. That consistency is how we build up a habit. It’s also how we cultivate and strengthen a virtue.
So how can we do that with Humility? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can live out the Virtue of Humility in our own lives:
- Be sure to praise others whenever we can (this changes our mindset)
- Give others their chance to show their talents and abilities
- Think of how we can serve others, and do it
- Take the place of least importance in every situation we can
- And other ideas you can think of!
For the first item, remember that when we have the Virtue of Humility, we think of others more than ourselves. That doesn’t mean we think more of others, it means we think of them more. We consider the needs of others, how they feel, and so on. So we could call Humility being “God and other-centered” while pride is being self-centered.
We can change our mindset to being “God and other-centered” by changing our behavior. If we make it a habit to praise others every time we can, every time they deserve it, we’ll start to change over to the Humble mindset. This is because we’ll be observing those around us, and noting their successes. Our mind will be tuned in to what we can praise the people around us for. If we make praising others a habit, we turn our minds in the direction of others, and building them up.
Going along with that is the next item: Give others their chance to shine. Part of the Virtue of Humility is stepping back in a group, allowing others to shine using their unique talents, skills, and abilities. If we’ve fallen to the vice of pride and we want to exalt ourselves all the time, stepping aside is something we would never do. Allowing someone else to step up to a challenge, solve the problem, and reap all the praise is an act of Humility. There are many situations in which we can do this; it’s not limited only to a professional context.
Next, we must think of how we can serve others in various circumstances, and do it. Jesus came to us as a servant and taught us through His example to have a Humble heart of service. We must be willing to help and serve anybody, like Jesus did. Serving others can stop us from developing the sin of pride. It’s hard to exalt ourselves above others when we’re focused on what we can do for them instead. (Of course it’s also possible to develop pride over how much service we do, so we need to watch for that too.) Serving the people we meet, especially the “least” and the most Humble, will keep our minds focused on others rather than exalting ourselves.
So let’s ask God every day what we can do for Him by helping His children, then let’s go do it! Let’s pray for Wisdom and use our creativity to find new, interesting ways to serve our fellow man.
Last, to cultivate the Virtue of Humility, we always need to take the place of least importance in every situation we can. We need to pray, observe, and think of how we can take that place of least importance in all the different kinds of contexts and situations we have in life. We need to get creative. How can we be Humble in a situation? How can we build others up? Let’s pray to God for Wisdom on this—try the first prayer from the prayers section in this post. After we do that, let’s get creative and put our minds to the question of how we can be Humble in every circumstance.
He Favors the Humble
The Virtue of Humility is one of the greatest Virtues there is. Not only does it stop us from falling to the vice of pride**, it genuinely feels good to serve others and see them rise up. It genuinely feels good to be Humble.
**Though we must also be careful not to develop pride over our Humility!
If we ever want to see some real-life examples of the Virtue of Humility, we can read the Gospels. Jesus was the perfect example of Humility in all He did. He served the people He met without exception. It didn’t matter to Him if they were sinners, outcasts, sick, or even demonically possessed. He came to serve mankind, which He did without exception. Though He was the Son of God, He never pushed others down to exalt Himself.
He did these things to give us His example, which we can read anytime in God’s Word. Though the world of today is different, Jesus’ teachings on the Virtue of Humility still apply. We can almost always find some way to take the place of least importance, if we put our minds to it.
Besides following Jesus’ example, there’s another reason to have the Virtue of Humility. And it’s critically important. The Virtue of Humility is our best defense against the vice of pride, which is the deadly “anti-God” state of mind. The Spiritually fatal attitude of exalting ourselves above God and others. The vice of pride will lead us to our eternal Spiritual death, as it’s the same sin that got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. God opposes the proud, but lifts up the Humble! (James 4:6)
(6) But he gives us more grace. This is why it says, “God stands against the proud, but favors the humble”.James 4:6 (CEB)
So practicing the Virtue of Humility is more than a good idea, it’s more than a wise way to live. It’s about more than following Jesus’ example. Practicing the Virtue of Humility is the best way to save ourselves from falling to the worst part of our nature, the part that wants to exalt ourselves like Satan did. Remember that pride goes before the fall! (Proverbs 16:18) Pride will lead us to our doom if we don’t kill it quick.
But we have no need to fear; we have Hope. If we follow Jesus’ example and practice the Virtue of Humility every time we can, God will favor us instead of opposing us. So let’s be Humble, like our LORD and Savior was, and live in agreement rather than opposition to God.
The Virtue for next time is Empathy. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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