Humility

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Bible Study Humility

Some Common Manifestations of Pride:

  1. Wanting to be popular, liked, and appreciated by others.

  2. Asking questions in order to be praised by others.

  3. Relying on one’s own wisdom/logic instead of relying on God through prayer

When we are struggling with pride we should respond by:

  1. Reflecting on who God is (Job 38-42, Isaiah 6:1-7, Psalms 29)

    1. One reason that we often get prideful is that we start forgetting about God, or we reduce Him to something is not. Sometimes we also compare ourselves to others. We think that other people are not so faithful or committed or holy as we are. We think that other people are not as skillful. David could become very prideful in his piano playing if he compares himself to me. I don’t know how to play piano so he is much better than me. But if he compares himself to Bach or Mozart he will not think so much of himself. This principle is true in regards to humility as well. We can always find someone worse than us and look down at them in order to fell good about ourselves (the jumping to Japan example). But by looking up at God we will be in the right place. Read and discuss parts of Job.

      1. This is both a positive and negative example. It starts off negative. Job does a lot of complaining about God and God’s treatment of him. He thinks that God is not dealing justly or fairly. Then God talks to Job and strongly reproves him, asking Job to teach Him and instruct Him. After God shows His great strength and power and puts Job in his proper place, Job repents. He realizes that God is the Almighty and over everything and that he himself is nothing. He repents and dust and ashes.

Job was thinking too much of himself. He was thinking of his situation and brooding about it. And he started passing judgment on what God was doing. This was very prideful. But when he heard and saw God’s power he knew he had nothing to say.

One reason we are sometimes prideful is because we forget who God is and who we are. We get away from God and start thinking about ourselves. If we go back to Scripture and study God and His character it will help us to be humble. When we remember who God is, it puts us in our proper place, which is far beneath Him.

      1. Read and discuss Isaiah 6 and Psalms 8:1-4. God is the Creator and He is also Holy and perfect. He is the Almighty. He has all the power and all the glory. Everything is from Him and everyone is going back to Him again. When we take time to truly look at God as He is, it will be impossible for us to be prideful. God’s holiness will show us just how sinful and needy we are. Seeing Him like He is, we must proclaim “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” Isaiah was the best of all of Israel, but when looking at God He was a wretched sinner. So are we. We become prideful when we compare ourselves to others or judge others, but looking at God breeds humility. So when you are struggling with pride turn to Scripture and start reading about God’s character.

  1. Recognizing who we are (“A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.” Edwards) A humble person understands who he truly is, and how God sees him. Our goal should be to look at ourselves as God does. When we take an honest look at our position we will realize that everything we are and have that is good is from God and everything we are and do that is bad is from ourselves. This will help us to be humble. Pride is thinking too highly of ourselves. Humility is not thinking of ourselves less than we should, but how we ought to. Spurgeon said, “Humility is the proper estimate of oneself.” So what is our position?

    1. Created (Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 55:9) Firstly, we are created. No matter how strong or talented or skillful or gifted we are we owe it all to God because He created us. He created humans not from some magnificent material, but from the dust of the ground! We owe our existence to God. We must remember to that as God is the Creator and we are the created, His ways are far higher than His ways. We must not pass judgment on or complain about what God has done. We must not question Him. That is the height of pride and is saying that we are wiser than the one who created us. It is natural to expect that the created cannot understand everything about the One who created us.

    2. Sustained (Colossians 1:17) We are not only created by Him, but we are sustained by Him. God didn’t just create the world and leave it to us to make what we can from it. He didn’t just give us some materials and say “do your best”. In that case we would still have reason to be prideful for what we have done. But Jesus continues to sustain life. If He “took a break” the world would fly apart into chaos and so would our lives. That means every breath we have is from God. Every time our heart beats it is a gift of God. Don’t take life for granted or think it is our right. It can end at any time.

    3. Sinners (Romans 3:10-12) As much as God has done for us, of our own will and nature we have rejected Him, broken His law, and gone our own way. Every one of us is a sinner. We are not good people. We are far far short of God’s standards. I think it will almost impossible for us to be prideful if we remember our own sins.

    4. Saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) We owe not only our physical life to Him, but also our spiritual life. We have been blessed with the greatest blessing of all, salvation from our sins. This is not one tiny bit our doing. It is completely God’s grace. There is no room in heaven for those who boast about their salvation.

    5. Strengthened (2 Thess 3:3) God doesn’t just save us and the rest of what we do is because of our own wisdom or strength. He then strengthens us. The victories that we have are because of Him. All the good qualities are the fruit of who? The Holy Spirit! Not the fruit of Tide’s perseverance!

  2. Receiving God’s instruction (James 1:21, Psalms 25:9) When we begin to get prideful we need to go back to Scripture. We need to submit ourselves to God’s teaching. He is willing to teach and instruct us, but we must be humble to listen to what He has to say. A prideful person says, “I know that already” or “I know what to do” or “I can make it on my own” or “I can handle it”. But a humble person will look to receive instruction both from God and others. A prideful person will probably spend little time in the Bible (why study if you know the answers?) But a humble person will realize his own needs and shortcomings and immerse himself in God’s Word. A humble person not only receives God’s instructions, but also seeks out and listens to the council of others. You can ask yourself. Are you open to Scripture? Are you willing to change your life based on what you learn and read? Do you listen to others when they give you suggestions and council or do you ignore it or try to defend yourself? Are you angry when others criticize you or are you perfect already? Are you teachable or do you know it all already?

  3. Relying on God’s strength, not our own (“God created the world out of nothing, and so long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.” Martin Luther)

    1. Matthew 3:8-10. The Jews relied on their ancestry. Discuss. What do we rely on? Do you rely on your wisdom/logic/skill/talent/looks/money? From John 15 we learn that apart from God we can do nothing. Sure, if we rely on ourselves we might be able to make money or have worldly success, but we will never have success in God’s eyes if we are trusting in our own strength.

    2. Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalms 44:6-8. These verses tell us not to trust in our own wisdom or our strength or skills. We must rely on God and trust Him. This includes every aspect of our lives, both physical and spiritual. If we are studying for and exam we must rely on God and not our own intelligence. Perhaps we know all the answers, but what if we get nervous and forget them? What if we get sick and can’t think clearly? In our jobs we must also rely on God. Even if we are really talented we could make a mistake. Maybe the company will be downsized. Maybe the boss won’t like our hairstyle. Who knows?? We must also rely on God every time we share the gospel and teach His Word. Why? Because we cannot change anyone’s mind ourselves no matter how much we have prepared and how smart we are. Only God can change someone so we must rely on His strength, not our own. What are some signs that we are relying on ourselves instead of God? Little prayer time. Little time spent in His Word. Confidence in our ability to persuade someone or win a debate or answer a question. The best way to rely on God is to prayerfully come into His presence in whatever situation we face and seek His wisdom and help. We should all be doing this, and especially those of us who share the gospel and teach others. Don’t do it with your own wisdom. Pray every time for God’s help.

  4. Rejoicing

    1. When His kingdom is being spread here on earth. What do I mean by this and what does this have to do with humility? Well, a prideful person sometimes wants attention. He wants to be popular. He wants to be the one that God is using. He wants to be front and center. But a humble person is happy when God’s work is being done regardless of who is at the front receiving the worldly credit and who is standing in the back unseen. Let me give a couple of examples. First Jonathan. How did Jonathan show humility in this way? Although he grew up expecting to be king, he realized that God had anointed David as the next king. Instead of fighting this as his father did, he submitted to God’s will. He didn’t do so grudgingly. But he was truly happy for David and helped David on many occasions. All Jonathan got for his help was being cursed out by his father. He cared more about God’s will than he did about his own power or popularity. Second, John the Baptist. How did he show humility in this way? John 3:30. Before Jesus came, John the Baptist had a thriving ministry. Many people went out to the wilderness to listen to him. After Jesus came, John’s ministry gradually shrunk. His disciples were upset about this and wanted to do something about it. But John wasn’t the least bit upset or regretful. He rejoiced in this. It was exactly what he hoped for. He didn’t care about personal credit or attention. He just wanted to see the kingdom of God spread at all costs, no matter who was front and center. A prideful person cares too much about what others think. A prideful person has an inflated view of his own importance. A prideful person wants to be the center of attention. A humble person cares nothing about the above. So Moses and I shouldn’t care that someone likes David’s teaching or style better or vice-versa. We shouldn’t care about what numbers are in our group compared to others. We shouldn’t care about the praise or compliments we do or don’t get. We should simply rejoice that God’s kingdom is being spread.

    2. (1 Corinthians 3:4-9 Paul and Apollos) Here are some verses on this very point if there is time to read and discuss.

  5. Replicating Jesus. As the God-man, Jesus is our perfect example of humility. He showed us through His action how to be humble although He had every reason to be prideful. Here is the greater, lesser argument. Let’s look at some of the ways Jesus showed humility that we can replicate/copy.

    1. Serve others (John 13:1-17). There is perhaps no greater or more touching example of humility than when Jesus, the Master and God of the universe, got down onto his knees on the ground to wash the disciple’s feet. If Jesus, who had every right to be served, served others in such a humiliating way how much more ought we to serve those around us? Stott says that one manifestation of pride is “A lack of service. Proud people may not serve because they are not thinking of others, or because they want to be coaxed to serve and don’t want to continue if there is no praise. Needing recognition is a sure sign of the wrong motives in service.” Pride is not serving or serving in order to be praised by others. A humble person will serve a lot and not seek thanks. He will be willing to take the low and dirty jobs that others don’t want. He will be willing to serve behind the curtain and in the background.

    2. Be unselfish (Philippians 2:3-11) “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.” Mike Show. Some people are confused about the meaning of humility. Humility doesn’t mean that we walk around talking about how pathetic and sinful and pitiful we are. Having a “woe is me” attitude may not look like pride, but it is another manifestation of it because we are thinking of ourselves too much. Proud people are selfish and want others to do many things for them because they have a high view of themselves and what they deserve. But Jesus is our example. He came from heaven to earth to become a man for us. The command attached tells us to have his same attitude and to put others ahead of ourselves. That is a big command. Selfishness is perhaps the most common and most basic of all sins. So if you are struggling with pride replicate Jesus by being unselfish as He was.

    3. Spend time to pray and commune with God (Luke 5:16). Jesus could not sin and had all power and strength and yet He still spent time often to go off by Himself and pray. We must follow Jesus’ example to humbly rely on God through prayer.

    4. Be consumed with doing the will of God (John 8:28-29). From our study in John one of the things that stood out the most about Jesus was His continual focus on doing God’s will. He wasn’t even thinking about Himself, but He was thinking about the will of the Father. As we discussed a minute ago, a truly humble person thinks of himself less. We think of others. We also think of how to better serve God and do His will in this world. If we are focused on doing that it will go a long way to help us avoid the sin of pride.

  6. Resonating the glory of God. A prideful person does a lot of boasting. Some of this is obvious and clear to everyone, like if I come to study with a big smile on my face and say “Today I was playing basketball at ti yu zhong xin. My teammates were like little mice and my opponents were three guys from the CBA. But I couldn’t miss. I was on fire and torched them by myself!” But boasting isn’t always that clear. Give an example of boasting without appearing to boast. “Many ask good questions with a design rather to justify themselves than inform themselves, rather proudly to show what is good in them than humbly to see what is bad in them.” Henry. One way of boasting is asking questions designed so that others will praise you such as “Hey, how did you like my cooking?” or “What do you think of the song I wrote?” These questions certainly don’t always come out of pride, but they could. So humility begins with the heart. Don’t boast about yourself. And don’t ask questions hoping others will praise you. So what should we boast about? (1 Cor 1:29-31). Read and discuss. What does it mean to boast in the Lord? That means we proclaim what God has done. Boasting in the Lord is giving God credit for the good things that happen in our life instead of taking credit for them ourselves. It is giving God the credit for our promotion, exam scores, etc. Again, instead of focusing on ourselves and our own achievements we should always be looking at what God is doing, both in our own lives and in others. We should look for opportunities to give Him glory.

  7. Repent quickly. A prideful person never sins. He always has a reason or excuse ready for why he didn’t do what he should have done. Perhaps he was tired or busy. Perhaps you are completely mistaken and he wasn’t even wrong. Prideful people don’t admit their mistakes because they don’t really think they have made any! Luke 5:32. On the contrary humble people see themselves correctly as God sees them. Therefore they can recognize it when they sin and do wrong. They also don’t have false pride that desires to cover up wrongs. So the humble person will listen carefully to reproof and consider its validity. If it is right the humble person will ask forgiveness and try to make it right without offering excuses or blaming others. Consider if you are quick to repent or not. If you aren’t, it is a sign of pride and you need to take it to God and be more open to reproof. Proverbs 10:17.

  8. And we will be Redeemed (Matthew 5:3, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Job 22:29). The way to heaven is a narrow gate. We also have to stoop down to enter into it. If we don’t go in bowing down to God, we can’t go in at all. We can’t go in with a big head. We can’t go in trusting ourselves, our good deeds, or anything else we have done. We can’t go in trusting in our humility either because that isn’t true humility! So humility can’t be counted as a good deed or anything worthy of merit since true humility relies on God and not on oneself. The only way in is to acknowledge our sin and humbly ask for God’s pardon and help. If we humbly do this, He will save us. This is the most important benefit of being humble. Pride sends us to hell. Pride says, “I trust in myself.” Humility says “I trust in God.” This is another reason that rich and talented people often are the hardest to rich. It seems like everything they have, they have gotten themselves so they are apt to believe in themselves and their own abilities. The Pharisees also had this problem. They were prideful and trusted in their own goodness in keeping the law. Humility is necessary to enter heaven. Discuss more and read verses.

  9. Rewarded (1 Peter 5:5-7, Mathew 6:1-18, no need read the whole thing). The humble will be rewarded by God. They will be exalted and lifted up. When will the humble be rewarded? When will they be exalted? In what way will they be rewarded? The comparison in Matthew is this. A prideful person does things in front of men and receives their respect or thanks. This is his reward. It is temporary and of little real value. But a humble person sees no need for thanks. As we mentioned earlier, a humble person doesn’t need to be at the front and in the center. A humble person may be serving in the background out of the public eye. He won’t receive the thanks of people, but he will be rewarded by God. God will bless the humble. God will answer the prayer of the humble. God will take care of the needs of the humble, where the prideful one has to rely on themselves and may even realize they are fighting against God. There are many examples of believers who were humble and persecuted or treated badly by others, but finally rose to a position of leadership or power. God has His own perfect time for everything. If we are humble and wait for Him, He will reward us in various ways.

  10. Or we will be Ruined (God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves. Dwight L. Moody) (Proverbs 16:18, 1 Peter 5:5-7 Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar, Proverbs 26:1-12). We’ve looked at what a humble person, why we should be humble, and what the benefits are; but let’s say this goes in one of our ears and out the other. We don’t pay attention. Instead we follow the way of culture and have pride in ourselves. What will the result be? Look at verses and discuss.

Verses on Humility

Proverbs 15:33 – Humility comes before honor.

James 1:21 – In humility receive the word.

1 Peter 5:5-7, Philippians 2:3-4 – Show humility towards one another. Humble yourselves under God’s hand. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to and exalts the humble.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If we humble ourselves to God He will hear us.

Job 22:29 – God will save the humble.

Psalms 25:9 – He leads and teaches the humble.

Proverbs 16:19 – It is better to be humble and poor than prideful and rich.

Isaiah 66:2 – God has made everything and will look to the humble.

Positive examples of humility

Numbers 12:3 – Moses was more humble than any other man.

John 13:1-17 – Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.

Isaiah 6:1-7 – Isaiah saw God’s throne room and couldn’t help but to be humble.

Job 38-42 – This is both a positive and negative example. It starts off negative. Job does a lot of complaining about God and God’s treatment of him. He thinks that God is not dealing justly or fairly. Then God talks to Job and strongly reproves him, asking Job to teach Him and instruct Him. After God shows His great strength and power and puts Job in his proper place, Job repents. He realizes that God is the Almighty and over everything and that he himself is nothing. He repents and dust and ashes.

Job was thinking too much of himself. He was thinking of his situation and brooding about it. And he started passing judgment on what God was doing. This was very prideful. But when he heard and saw God’s power he knew he had nothing to say.

One reason we are sometimes prideful is because we forget who God is and who we are. We get away from God and start thinking about ourselves. If we go back to Scripture and study God and His character it will help us to be humble. When we remember who God is, it puts us in our proper place, which is far beneath Him.

Negative example of humility

Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4. God humbled him.

“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life.” – A.W. Tozer

“Many ask good questions with a design rather to justify themselves than inform themselves, rather proudly to show what is good in them than humbly to see what is bad in them.” – William Henry

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