Thoughts about humility

worms“Oh, it’s not me, it’s all Jesus….I’m nothing…I’m just a worm in His sight… just a dirty old sinner saved by grace.”

Does this self-effacing posture sound like humility to you? Do you embrace a “worthless worm” theology about who you are?

After all, isn’t our righteousness as filthy rags…”

Is it?

Actually, this is what often passes for humility in Christianity. But closer inspection will reveal it’s really not. In some ways it betrays a self-righteousness, even spiritual pride, because we’re placing our thoughts about ourselves above God’s thoughts about us. 

I understand that the intent is to honor Jesus and accentuate the grace of God. That’s commendable but dangerously misguided because it actually keeps us locked up in a tomb of doubt and confusion about ourselves, guarded by our own insecurities. It blinds us from seeing who we are on this side of the Cross of Christ.

True humility is agreeing with what God says about you, nothing more, nothing less. Anything other than this is not humility. It’s a subtle form of religious pride.

It’s not humility to make yourself out to be garbage or identify in any way with your old nature. It’s actually unbelief, even the very height of arrogance through ignorance, because it dares to contradict God. And it’s demeaning to your glorious nature through the finished work of Christ.

Degrading yourself also devalues what God has accomplished in the Cross of Christ. For the Father values you the same as Jesus since He paid Jesus for you (Jn.3:16). And He seems to think that you’re His masterpiece, His tapestry, His workmanship (Eph.2:10). To say otherwise about ourselves would be like telling Michelangelo, Rembrandt, or Da Vinci that their paintings are just filthy rags. Only worse, because you have much greater worth to God than a painting.

True humility is totally agreeing with your new nature and denying everything about your old nature.

True humility does not hang on to the past. It knows our past belongs to God. To hang on to it, or identify with it, is to think like a grave robber and a thief (2 Cor.5:17). Humble people don’t live in the graveyard of their past. They let it go.

You cannot be arrogant if you’re dead (Gal.2:20:Col.3:3). Religious ideas of humility and what is arrogant come from insecure people who don’t know they’re dead.

As Bill Johnson has said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

True humility is knowing that your righteousness apart from Christ was “filthy rags,” but you’re not apart from Him anymore.

True humility is declaring that your righteousness and holiness is exactly the same as Christ’s righteousness and holiness (2 Cor.5:21; Rom.11:16; 12:1).

Denying self is not trying to be humble; it’s being alive to God in Christ (Rom.6:11, 13).

True humility doesn’t compare itself with others,  or even try to “live up” to some standard of Christ. Humble people know they are literally placed in Christ. And, in Him, they know they are already complete, they have everything He has, and they are everything that He is in this world (Col.2:10; 1 Jn.4:17).

True humility reveals identity and facilitates purpose.

Again, Bill Johnson, “False humility will keep us from our destiny. True humility will take us to it.”

Beloved, let’s begin seeing ourselves, and talking about ourselves, the same way God sees us for a change. That’s humility that honors Him.

God values you and I so much that He gave us free will, which means we have the freedom to stubbornly hang on to all our religious false images about who we think we are if we want to. But just know, that’s not being humble.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 42 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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20 Responses to Thoughts about humility

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  2. Heidi Viars says:

    “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” … wonderful quote … God will humble us when we are proud and will be the lifter of our heads when we bow in humility … I must say I have been in both places … Thanks for great post! Blessings!

    • melwild says:

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, I’ve been in that place too. God graciously redefined my idea of humility for me, which is simply agreeing with Him about who He says I am instead of making stuff up about myself, good or bad. Blessings to you, too.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts about humility | marklhen

  4. marklhen says:

    Great post… so good I had to re-post it. Great writing and insights. You go, bro!!!

  5. leighla93 says:

    For so long I struggled to understand what humility really meant. I thought it meant focusing on what you don’t have and too bad ’cause your stuck there. It was hard for me to realize that it was then that I should just shut up and accept the Lord’s help. It feels like it took about a million times for God to bring me to that point, and now I look back at those times and say “How prideful and rude of me.” God’s grace is a never ending gift. This just got me on fire. Yesssss!! I receive!!! 😀

  6. Cindy Powell says:

    Thanks for tackling this. The whole “false humility” thing died a slow painful death in my life (although it still tries to resurrect itself now and again–lol) because I so bought into a false ideal of what it meant for “Him to increase and me to decrease.” Thank the Lord for His faithful persistence in revealing what He thinks of me 🙂 That quote from Bill Johnson is one of my favorites and I use it a lot–sort of sums it all up!

  7. Kathleen says:

    “True humility is knowing that your righteousness apart from Christ was “filthy rags,” but you’re not apart from Him anymore.” So many great points in this post I’ll need to save it and reread so I can chew on each one!

  8. Pingback: હેપી બર્થડે, મહાત્મા ગાંધી! Happy Birthday, Mahatma Gandhi! | Deo Volente

  9. betsyjacobs says:

    Brilliant! Love it! 🙂


  11. Pingback: True humility leads to honor | In My Father's House

  12. Pingback: More thoughts about humility | In My Father's House

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