I recently discussed the nature of Christian humility. But of course merely understanding a virtue is not enough. If we are serious about following Jesus Christ, we want to become virtuous, to become more like him. In this post, we’ll look at some ways to grow in this crucial Christian virtue.
First, since we need God to work in and through us for the kind of growth we desire as Christians, we should pray and ask God to help us grow in this virtue. This can seem like a cliché, but nevertheless it is true. Prayer is an essential element of our moral and spiritual growth. We can pray for opportunities to grow in humility, to display it in our everyday lives, and for strength from God’s Spirit to rise to the occasion and follow Christ in being humble.
Second, I’ve found that by simply reflecting upon humility, I become more aware of situations that call for it. Christian humility involves putting the interests of others ahead of our own. I’d been thinking about this one day, when on the drive home I thought of some obligations I had that I really didn’t feel like fulfilling. But as I had those feelings, I was reminded of this virtue, which motivated me to display it that evening by putting my children’s interests ahead of my own. Meditating upon the nature of humility as shown in the life of Christ, such as his baptism by John or his washing of the disciples’ feet, can be helpful. I also suggest meditating upon Philippians 2:1-11, as it connects the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ with Paul’s exhortation to the Philippian church to be humble towards one another.
Third, given that the primary vice that is opposed to humility is pride, one key way to grow in humility is to ask God to make us aware of the pride in our lives. As he does so, we can rely on him to help us eliminate it. Sinful pride includes a self-centered concern for ourselves and our desires. As we till the ground of our lives to remove pride, we also provide space for the seeds of humility to grow.
Finally, we can seek out opportunities to serve others anonymously. In this way, we seek their good and minimize the chances that we’ll be recognized for our efforts. There is nothing wrong with such recognition, but as a way of intentionally cultivating humility in our lives we might try to avoid it for a season.
What challenges have you faced related to humility? What additional suggestions do you have for growth in this virtue? Let us know in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Indy Metro Church, CCL License.