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Cheap Substitutes for Humility

December 15, 2019

Clothe yourselves with humility. 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

Our culture is confused about humility, and so we often settle for cheap substitutes. But if we want the world to sit up and take notice, the church must put forward living examples of true humility. What does it look like? Let’s start with what humility is not:

1. Humility is not denying your gifts.
There is absolutely no value in someone who is good-looking trying to convince themselves that they are really ugly. There is no value in someone who is intellectually brilliant trying to convince others that they are really stupid. And what value is there for someone who is an outstanding athlete to try and make out that they are really only average. That’s not humility; it’s nonsense! Humility is not about denying your gifts. There is nothing spiritual about talking down what God has enabled you to be or to do.

2. Humility is not exaggerating your faults.
There is an inverted form of pride in which a person makes themselves out to be much worse than they really are: “I really am hopeless. I really can’t do anything well. I always mess things up.” Humility is not about exaggerating your faults.

So, if humility isn’t denying our gifts or exaggerating our faults, then what is humility? Why is it so important? And how do you cultivate humility?

Have you (or someone you know) ever tried to be “humble” by doing one of these things? What effect did it have?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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