We all want to be successful. We all want people to admire us and respect us. But, in order to be truly successful and become more like Jesus, we need to practice humility.
In a world where pride is often seen as a virtue, humility can be difficult to come by. But despite what culture tells you, pride is not a good thing. In fact, pride can be quite harmful both to ourselves and to those around us. Jesus himself said that “from such come wars and fights” (Matthew 10:34).
Humility is often viewed as a weakness, but it's one of the strongest qualities a person can have. How can we go about practicing it in our lives?
Here are six ways to practice humility that you can start this week:
1. Be quick to apologize. We're all human, and that means that we all make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes our actions hurt the people around us, and when that happens, we need to be quick to say we’re sorry. Apologizing in a timely manner sends an important message: it shows that you value your relationships more than your pride. Plus, it demonstrates maturity and empathy, which are both key qualities in any kind of relationship.
Of course, apologizing doesn't mean that you should become a doormat or allow others to take advantage of you. It's important to maintain healthy boundaries and speak up for yourself in appropriate situations. But when you do make a mistake, take the bold step to admit your wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness as soon as possible. After all, being quick to apologize is one of the best ways to strengthen the bonds with those who matter most in your life. When you do this, you model the posture of humility those around you.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16
2. Seek out feedback. It can be difficult to hear negative feedback, but it's important to seek it out nonetheless. Ask your friends and family for honest feedback about areas in your life where you could stand to improve.
Be specific in your requests. Rather than simply asking for “feedback,” say something like, “I really want to work on my communication skills. Can you tell me three things I do that get in the way of effective communication?” Be prepared to listen with an open mind, and try not to get defensive. Remember, the goal is to improve, not to be perfect. With that in mind, even constructive criticism can be valuable.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. – Proverbs 19:20
3. Be modest about your achievements. Being modest means believing that any good things that come your way are not the result of personal effort alone, but rather a blessing from God. One of the best ways to practice this in your achievements is to exercise gratitude when you accomplish something great. Whether it's completing an important project at work, earning a coveted promotion, or winning a competition, pause for a moment to give thanks to God for all the help you have received along the way. And then don't forget to thank the people who supported you as well, whether they were friends, family members, or mentors in your life.
Ultimately, being modest about your achievements shows that you are someone who recognizes the role others play in helping you succeed, both today and in the future. And even more importantly than that, it gives glory to God in your day-to-day life.
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches.” – Jeremiah 9:23
4. Give generously. When we're humble, we're not focused on ourselves and our own needs. Instead, we're focused on giving to others. So find ways to be generous with your time, your talents, and your resources.
When you do this, you open up your heart and mind to the needs of others. You become more compassionate and more aware of the struggles others are facing. As a result, you’re better able to help those in need and make a difference in the world. So next time you're feeling down or stressed, take a moment to reach out to someone in need. You'll be surprised at how good it feels to give generously.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
5. Serve others. Lending a helping hand to those around you is one of the simplest, yet most meaningful ways you can practice humility. In serving others, you avert your focus away from yourself and instead place it on the needs of others. Whether you’re volunteering or simply offering words of support and encouragement to a friend in need, serving others allows you to cultivate an attitude of humility and compassion.
This simple act embodies what it truly means to be humble: by placing the needs of others above your own, you learn to become more self-aware and more in tune with what the world around you needs. At its core, service is about empathy and understanding, qualities that ultimately help to make you a more empathetic person. When you choose to serve others, not only do you help make this world a better place, but you also become a better person yourself. So no matter what struggles you might be facing in your own life, remember that there is always something you can do to help serve others and show humility along the way. Your compassion might just change someone's life for the better.
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35
6. Ask God to reveal your pride through prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool that can help you to identify and overcome your own pridefulness. When you come before God with humility, he will reveal to you the areas in your life where you are most puffed up. This can be a painful process, but it is transforming as you grow closer to God. Once we are aware of our own pridefulness, we can begin to take steps to overcome it. We can ask God for help in changing our attitudes and behaviours, and we can seek out people who will hold us accountable. Over time, we can learn to live more humble lives, which allows us to better serve God and those around us.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6
We hope you will put these tips into practice and see the positive impact they can have on your personal and spiritual life. As with all things, start small and be consistent. Be quick to apologize, listen to those around you, be modest about your achievements, give generously, and serve others. It will make the world a better place and you a better person. Most importantly, seek out God in prayer and ask him to transform your heart in this area. In the process, you will not only become more like Jesus, but you will reveal him to those around you.