"A man's pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor."1
"Tony Campolo tells of preaching a really good sermon in his preaching class in seminary. Campolo felt pretty proud of his outline, his arguments, and his delivery. He felt pretty proud of himself—until he read his professor's comments at the bottom of the page: 'You can't convince people that Jesus is wonderful and you're wonderful in the same sermon.'"2
I recall hearing a somewhat heated discussion between a church member and his minister. I couldn't help but overhear the member all but shouting, "I tell you, I AM humble!" The trouble is if I have to tell you how humble I am, already I've lost it.
Humility, however, is not degrading or putting yourself down or hanging your head in a false kind of shame. That's insecurity. True humility is having a realistic evaluation of yourself, recognizing your gifts, abilities, and strengths and being grateful to God for them—and putting all these gifts to good use in serving God and others. Humility also recognizes and accepts one's weaknesses and, with God's help, does something about overcoming them.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to grow in love and maturity and become more and more like Jesus in every way so that I will be genuinely humble ... recognizing that 'every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.'3 And help me to always give you the praise for all the gifts and good things you have given so freely to me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 29:23 (NASB).
2. Tony Campolo in Ten Great Preachers, edited by Bill Turpie (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000), p. 38. Cited on www.sermons.com
3. James 1:17 (NIV).