3 Misunderstandings About Humility

3 Misunderstandings About Humility

We are, as Christians, to pursue humility. We do that in any number of ways – by serving in such a way that we know we won’t be recognized, by reminding ourselves of our own sin and condemnation apart from Jesus, and simply by praying for it. We are, in other words, to take a very active stance when it comes to humility, and to go hard after it.

One might argue that humility is the first step toward becoming a Christian. I’m not trying to disagree that we come to Christ by grace through faith; not at all. But one might say that even before you get to “by grace through faith” you might come to your knees in humility. That’s because coming to Christ means recognizing not only something about Him, but also recognizing something about yourself.

When you come to Christ in faith, you are recognizing that He loves you. That He died in your place. And that He has grace enough to forgive you of your sins and put you in right relationship with God.

At the same time, though, you are recognizing that you cannot do any of those things for yourself. You can’t make yourself right with God. Even your best works are tainted with sin. You have no means or power by which you can stand before God, and it’s only in Christ that you can be saved. This is the essence of humility.

But despite the fact that we must exercise humility in coming to Christ, it is nevertheless a characteristic we seem to be confused about. Here are three of those misunderstandings:

1. Humility means thinking less of yourself.

Humility is not self-loathing. To be humble does not mean to hate oneself. It certainly does not mean to punish oneself or to think oneself worthless. In fact, this kind of self-hatred is not only not humility; it’s also dishonoring to our Creator who made us in His own image:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
   (Psalm 139:13-14).

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