As James 4:10 states, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you..” The following is a list of twelve suggestions from others on how to humble yourself. As you will see, most of them are basics of our Christian faith.
Twelve Ways to Humble Yourself*
Routinely confess your sin to God. (Luke 18:9-14) All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, too few of us have a routine practice of rigorous self-honesty examination. Weekly, even daily, review of our heart and behavior, coupled with confession to God, is an essential practice of humility.
Acknowledge your sin to others. (James 3:2, James 5:16) Humility before God is not complete unless there is also humility before man. A true test of our willingness to humble ourselves is being willing to share with others the weaknesses we confess to God. Wisdom, however, dictates that we do so with others that we trust.
Take wrong patiently. (1 Peter 3:8-17) This has been a difficult one for me. When something is unjust I want to react and rectify it. However, patiently responding to the unjust accusations and actions of others demonstrates our strength of godly character and provides an opportunity to put on humility.
Actively submit to authority…the good and the bad! (1 Peter 2:18) Our culture does not value submission; rather it promotes individualism. How purposely and actively do you work on submission to those whom God has placed as authorities in your life? Doing so is a good way to humble yourself.
Receive correction and feedback from others graciously. (Proverbs 10:17, 12:1) In the Phoenix area, a local East valley pastor was noted for graciously receiving any negative feedback or correction offered. He would simply say “thank you for caring enough to share that with me, I will pray about it and get back to you.” Look for the kernel of truth in what people offer you, even if it comes from a dubious source. Always pray, “Lord, what are you trying to show me through this?”
Accept a lowly place. (Proverbs 25:6,7) If you find yourself wanting to sit at the head table, wanting others to recognize your contribution or become offended when others are honored or chosen, then pride is present. Purpose to support others being recognized, rather than you. Accept and look for the lowly place; it is the place of humility.
Purposely associate with people of lower state than you. (Luke 7:36-39) Jesus was derided by the Pharisees for socializing with the poor and those of lowly state. Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.
Choose to serve others. (Philippians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 23:11) When we serve others, we are serving God’s purposes in their lives. Doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God instead of the Kingdom of self. When serving another costs us nothing, we should question whether or not it is really servanthood.
Be quick to forgive. (Matthew 18: 21-35) Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.
Cultivate a grateful heart. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) The more we develop an attitude of gratitude for the gift of salvation and life He has given us, the more true our perspective of self. A grateful heart is a humble heart.
Purpose to speak well of others. (Ephesians 4:31-32) Saying negative things about others puts them “one down” and us “one up”…a form of pride. Speaking well of others edifies them and builds them up instead of us. Make sure, however, that what you say is not intended as flattery.
Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross. (Luke 9:23) It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to self and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.
A Prayer for Humility
O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance,
Admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice,
Accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize,
To sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy,
And to think of people at their best rather than at their worst.
This we ask for thy name’s sake. Amen.
– – – Prayer of William Barclay
*Tips found in various websites – unsure where they originated