The Key to Humility

The Key to Humility

What comes to your mind when you think about a person being humble?

Do you think about someone who is quiet and unassuming?  Or maybe they don’t show off or bring their accomplishments to the forefront.

What exactly does it mean to be humble and what was it about me that I couldn’t see?

I’ve never been accused of being humble.


I have always seen myself as determined, and a person who was willing to lead.   I didn’t think of myself as proud or obstinate but most everyone said I was – at least to some degree. Of course in retrospect I can clearly see the error of my thinking.

And that’s what brought me to the question:

What exactly does it mean to be humble
and what was it about me that I couldn’t see?


Humility is a condition of the heart. It is never about us and what we are either doing or not doing.

The role of humility is to provide a way for others to be elevated – even at our own expense.


The forerunner for Jesus was John the Baptist. The religious leaders of the day asked him point blank if he was a prophet (and he was).  They even wondered if he was Elijah coming back to life. Religion requires that all things be categorical.

John’s answer was, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Not the Christ, not a prophet, not a famous resurrected figure
 (John 1:19-23)

John’s mission was clear He was to announce the Saviour of the world. (John 1:6-8)
No big.

John certainly had a strong following but humility kept John on his mission.  At one point the disciples of John spoke to him and said, “look, he (Jesus) is baptizing, and all are going to him.”

It’s in John’s reply that we find the key to unlocking humility: “ He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Note carefully the wording.  The emphasis of the verse is on Christ and what He needs rather than John and what he must do. This was in direct opposition to the prideful heart found in John’s disciples who cared more about their ministry then the did the other guy’s church.

Humility always emphasises the need of others of ourselves.

I needed things to be about me.

I needed the win, and to be heard.

Humility doesn’t need to be right.  Frankly, I may have been right and my ideas better.  I could win the argument and talk my way into or out of most anything.

But at who’s cost and to what end?  For the man this is what marriage is all about (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Humility does nothing from a heart of selfish ambition or conceit. It counts others more significant than ourselves. (Phil 2:3)

So…what exactly is humility?  It may different for everyone.  For me it was two sided.
– I had to lose the need to be right, and
– Think of others more than myself.

But if we need an example of how humility might play out, we need to look no further than to Jesus.
He was right about everything!   But humility kept Him on mission.
Humility required Him to die for the sake of others. (Phil 2:1-8)

Humility requires the Christian to move out of the way and point to the savior,

That’s what John did. I talk more about this aspect of humility in my next post.

You and I might never be asked to lay down or lives for another but we can certainly think of examples where we could lay down our emotions, our pride, and our need to win for the sake of others.

I’ve a long way to go but i think I am on the right road.

HERE’s part 2


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  1. More on Humility | Douglas Rea - […] my last post, “The Key to humility,”  I spent much of that writing on John the Baptist.  John’s humility ultimately…
  2. Humility (intermission) | Douglas Rea - […] CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 […]

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