The fruit of the Spirit is not complete without humility as it is an important trait that each follower of Christ needs on the Christian pathway. Unlike the worldly definition, Biblical humility is not focused on you belittling or demeaning yourself in comparison to others.
Let’s take a look at: humbled in the Bible, the Biblical definition of humility, what is the spiritual meaning of humble, and what does it mean to humble yourself to God.
What does the Bible say about humbled?
The word humbled appears many times in the word of God and has been used as the opposite of pride, arrogance, and self-exaltation. Isaiah 2:17 states, “The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day”.
Micah 6:8 highlights that true humility is expected of each follower of God. It says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”.
Being humbled is all about putting pride aside, embracing who we are in Christ, and allowing the Lord to exalt you.
What is the Biblical meaning of being humble?
The Biblical meaning of humble points us away from selfish ambition and pride and points us to service, patience, and who we are in Christ.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3 NIV
A humble person is someone who doesn’t act out of selfish ambitions to receive glory and praise. Instead, his or her actions will be genuinely focused on service and placing the interests of others first.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ¹¹ If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
This is another text that highlights humility as an act of service. Instead of looking out for your own interests and needs, serve others with a humble spirit and expect that the praise and glory will be given to God and not yourself.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 NIV
This text talks about both pride and humility and tells the outcome of each behavior. Pride leads to disgrace but humility leads to wisdom. With this in mind a well thinking child of God would avoid disgrace and pride and with a humble heart embrace wisdom.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV
Here is another Proverb that looks at the consequence of choosing pride over humility. Humble people are able to avoid embarrassment and destruction by avoiding arrogance and self-praise.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV
Christian life requires that you are fortified with humility, kindness, compassion, gentleness, and patience. These qualities will help you not to focus on selfish desires but to be mindful of the character that the Lord wants you to have.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19 NIV
Humility is the ability to listen keenly, speak only when necessary, and exercising self-control even in very trying circumstances.
The word humility does not mean that you allow others to take advantage of you. Rather humility means that you have the strength to act rationally, make wise choices, and control your emotions.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 NIV
This verse is a very good definition of godly humility. Individuals who consider themselves to be poor in spirit will not lose sight of God and His kingdom because they constantly yearn to be spiritually filled.
On the other hand, if you think that you are filled with the spirit then you will have a sense of adequacy that may prevent the Holy Spirit from working on you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
As followers of Christ, we have to put aside pride, self-reliance, our own ego, and other selfish thoughts, and embrace who we are in Christ.
Being a new creation means daily dying to our own desires, being transformed by the renewing of our mind, and submitting to the will of God.
Romans 12:2 puts it this way, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will’.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NIV
Jesus Christ giving himself as a ransom for our sins was not just an act of love. It was also a demonstration of humility. He placed our needs and our interest above His life.
He left the splendor of heaven, took on the likeness of men, was born in a humble cottage, lived a life of humility, and bore the death of the cross so that we may inherit eternal life.
What is the spiritual meaning of humble?
We all have a vital role to play in the kingdom of God. Christ’s role required great sacrifice and service and as co-laborers with Him we too have to take on lowly positions and dispositions. Like Christ we will be honored and exalted by the mighty hand of God with a heavenly reward.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, ²⁷ and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— ²⁸ just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many Matthew 20:26-28 NIV
In this text Jesus was giving a lesson on the significance of humility. To be humble in the spiritual sense requires lowliness of mind, sacrifice, and even great service to others.
Jesus gave up His divinity and took on a human form to save us. We too are expected to sacrifice who we are, our authority, title, and accomplishments for the sake of others as we serve them.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 NIV
This verse is another lesson by Jesus on how to be humble. We should not be boastful or quick to flaunt or accolades and titles. Instead, we should be reserved and if needs be, others will acknowledge us when they see it fit.
In trying to put ourselves above others we find ourselves in embarrassing circumstances. On the other hand, when others acknowledge us for who we truly are it brings much honor.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. ¹³ “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. ¹⁴ Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. ¹⁵ I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. ¹⁶ Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. John 13:12-16 NIV
One of the best demonstrations for the importance of humility in the New Testament may be found by careful examination of Jesus’ life. He was the teacher and leader of the disciples and He gave them a fitting lesson on how to show lowliness of spirit instead of flaunting their authority and position.
He was their Master but He chose to carry out the role of a servant when he bent and wash their feet. In carrying out the ordinance of humility Christ teaches us to see each other as important and as equals. We all have a very significant role to play in God’s kingdom and He will reward us greatly.
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. ⁸ And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:7-8 NIV
The son of God took the form of a servant in order to redeem us from sin and give us access to eternal life. As followers of Christ, we are expected to do all we possibly can to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others so that they too may be heirs of His kingdom.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 looks at the sacrifices that the apostle Paul made in his ministry to share the gospel. Verse nineteen states, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible”.
He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Proverbs 3:34 NIV
It is a great blessing to find favor in the sight of the Lord. The word of God assures us that when we embrace humility and its importance on our Christian journey the Lord will show us favor.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 NIV
This is another text that looks at the importance of humility while sharing one of its benefits. The spiritual meaning of being humble requires submission.
Christ in His submission found “… favor with God and man”. Luke 2:52 We are to submit to each other the same way Jesus submitted to the will of God and died on a cross.
Cooperation, team work, valuing the contribution of others, and showing respect for authority are some ways we may gain favor through submission.
What does it mean to humble yourself to God?
Accepting that you are nothing without Christ, placing your confidence in Him, submitting to God, and seeking His forgiveness are ways that you may humble yourself to God.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 NIV
Accepting that we are nothing on our own and being grateful for who we are in Christ is a fitting way to humble ourselves to God.
We are but sinners saved by grace and there is nothing that any of us could have done to remedy the effects of sin in this world. It’s a humbling thought knowing that the King of the universe left the splendor of heaven just to save you and me.
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9 NIV
The example set here by the apostle Paul is a powerful way to humble ourselves to God. In fact, the conversion from Saul to Paul would not have taken place without submission to God’s will and humility of spirit.
Paul accomplished a lot during his ministry yet he didn’t see a need to boast. We should not lose sight of who should receive all the glory as we allow ourselves to be used in the service of the Lord.
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh Philippians 3:3 NIV
In humbling yourself to God, you should not place your confidence or trust in yourself or others. As you serve the Lord, don’t depend on your own strength but place your assurance in Christ and rely on Him to fortify and empower you.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3 NIV
If you are searching for a way to humble yourself to God then the advice given in this verse is very helpful. Don’t consider yourself to be above others but use sound judgement as you take into consideration the measure of faith that the Lord granted to each of us.
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Being humble to God sometimes requires us to have a contrite heart. Confession and repentance are required when we disobey God’s words. We need to seek the Lord in prayer with a humble mind as we ask for His forgiveness.
Understanding what humbled means in the Bible helps us to appreciate the importance of humility. The biblical and spiritual meanings of humility help us to accept who we are in Christ as we enjoy the benefits of being humble to God.