Is humility on your list of leadership traits you want to develop?
Humility is recognized as an important quality for leaders to possess. In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins identified it as one of only two leadership traits attributed to the success of the top Fortune 500 companies.
If the humility of a leader can have a significant impact on the success of a company, don’t you think it could have an even greater impact in Christian ministry? The Bible describes benefits humility will provide to you and your small group ministry (see 3 Reasons Humility is Critical for Small Group Leaders).
God is clear about the need to be humble.
“For the Lord takes delight in his people;Psalm 149:4 (NIV)
he crowns the humble with victory.”
But humility is commonly misunderstood. Being humble does not mean there is a lack of confidence. It also doesn’t mean you allow people to walk all over you.
I believe there are two main characteristics of being humble. First, you recognize that everything you have, including your successes, comes from God. Second, you put others before yourself. These characteristics are easy to recognize but difficult for leaders to put into practice.
Developing humility is usually a slow process because life transformation is typically slow. We need to learn what to do, apply what we learned, and keep applying it so it becomes a part of us. The change is hard to see in the moment. It is only when we (and others) look back over time that we see the change. We have to trust the process.
But what is the process? How can we transform into a humble person and remain there?
7 Ways to Grow in Humility
The following are seven areas to consistently apply in your life to develop humility within you:
1. Pray for Humility
All good things come from God. Ask Him to provide you the wisdom and strength you will need on your journey to develop humility in your life. Don’t forget to listen for a response from God. Prayer is a two-way conversation.
Just the acknowledgement that you can’t do it by yourself is a step in the right direction towards humility.
2. Study About Who God Is
” Humility is the fear of the Lord;Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)
its wages are riches and honor and life.”
Humility doesn’t happen without a healthy fear of God. It is not a fear that paralyzes us from living for Him. But it is a fear that acknowledges how great He is and that everything good comes from God. That fear comes as we learn about Him.
Continue to learn and remind yourself about who God is. If you need a starting point, consider by watching the video series The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul.
3. Worship God
Make God your first priority. Express your love for Him. Not just in song, but in everything you do.
Put God first.
4. Face Your Sin
You are not perfect. I am not perfect.
As you learn more about who God is, you start to recognize how serious sin is and what an amazing act of love God did when He sent His son, Jesus, to live a perfect life an Earth and die for the forgiveness of our sins.
We know this, but we still sin. Acknowledging our sin to God and repenting will help build humility.
5. Ask For Help
I have struggled with asking for help. I still do. When I am unwilling to expose my needs with others and ask for help, it is pride that has a hold on me.
Acknowledge that you need others. Bury your pride. Reveal your struggles with people you trust and ask for help when needed.
6. Serve Other People
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
Put God and others first. Value them higher than yourself.
Find ways to serve other people. If you would like to find community service opportunities, check out the post Tackle Community Problems for Community Outreach.
7. Be Grateful
Everything we have came from God. Anything we have, by the grace of God, is more than we deserve.
When we are grateful to God for all that we have, we are thinking about Him and not ourselves.
Which of the seven ways to develop humility are you going to start focusing on today?
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Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Great suggestions Roger! Asking for help is huge! It seems it would be so easy to do that. But it’s really hard to admit sometimes that you can’t do it yourself. Thanks for the insight!