January 19, 2017 by Dr. Alan Ahlgrim
I love cherry pie . . . not humble pie. Unfortunately, I find myself consuming far more of the “humble” kind than the dessert kind. Whenever I think that I’m making progress in humility, I’m convicted again.
Just this morning I found another reason for both pride and humility. Linda and I were in a flexibility class and I asked the instructor why her own husband didn’t attend . . . taking pride in the fact that at least I did! It wasn’t long before I was humbled again by my inflexibility. Not just by the flexible women in the class, but by the fact that I’m the least flexible guy. That hurts!
In all humility how can I ever think that I’m really progressing in either flexibility or humility? Humility is the sort of character quality that always seems out of reach. Just when I think I’m being humble I often find myself recognizing it, and worse, even taking pride in it. Ugh!
How humble are you? Edward Benson became archbishop of Canterbury in 1882 and suggested a few “humble” rules for Christian leaders and others:
- Do not murmur at your busyness or the shortness of the time.
- Never exaggerate duties by seeming to suffer under the load.
- Never call attention to crowded work or trivial experiences.
- Before confrontation or censure, obtain from God a real love for the one at fault.
- Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.
- Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.
- Avoid complaining when your advice or opinion is not consulted, or having been consulted, set aside.
- Never allow yourself to be placed in favorable contrast with anyone.
- Seek no favors, nor sympathies; do not ask for tenderness, but receive what comes.
Humility is hard because it actually requires both self-awareness and self-denial. I find it helpful to review a list like the one above and acknowledge how often my pride is at play and in the way. As the saying goes, it’s not about thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking about yourself less.
According to Jesus this is pretty important. “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 NIV)
Director of Pastor Care
Blessing Ranch Ministries