Humility and Honor


October 22, 2013

When I was a kid I remember a song by the singer Mac Davis. I couldn’t tell you any other song by him, but I remember this one:

Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way
I can’t wait to look in the mirror,
Cause I get better looking each day…
Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble

I think we could all agree on the fact that Mac missed the mark a bit (to say the least), but I think he brings up a valid point: it is difficult to practice humility. Now, it may be difficult at times because of our own struggle with arrogance or pride, but even more than that, what does it mean to be humble? And what does humility look like in practice?

Paul wrote this about living out humility in Philippians 2, verses 1-5:

"Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

Paul lists concrete things for us to consider when putting humility into practice:

  • Love one another
  • Work together with one mind and purpose
  • Don’t be selfish
  • Think of others as better than yourselves
  • Take an interest in the needs of others

When I look at this teaching, I think Paul gives us a blueprint for living out humility and it can be summed up in one word: honor. To do those things in practical, concrete ways is to honor the people around me. To practice humility is to honor others.

Recently, my pastor said this: “Honor is something we choose instead of something that is earned.” I think that fits this way. As we engage in the journey with Jesus and He does the work of sanctifying and changing us, humility is one of the products of the Spirit’s work. BUT, honoring those around me is something I must choose in my day-to-day life.

We as caregivers choose to humbly honor others through the ministry of Formational Prayer. We take an interest in their needs and consider them to be as important as our own (Phil 2:4). As we do, we position them to experience the Lord in the present moment.


About the Author:

Jeff is the founder and director of Being Formed Resources, which provides experientially-based spiritual formation resources, pastoral counseling, and small group ministry. He also trains people to lead formational prayer at Ashland Theological Seminary. He spent 15 years serving the church in full-time ministry before starting Being Formed. He resides in Wooster with his wife Kelly and three daughters.

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