In a church staff meeting many years ago it was quite a common thing for the senior pastor to go around and ask us all to name a mark of humility. He felt (rightly) it was good practice for us to rehearse the hallmarks of gospel-wrought humility and have them at the front of our minds. It was always a convicting and spurring exercise. Here they are as best I remember (quotes mainly from Jonathan Fletcher and Michael Ramsey):
- Thankfulness replacing grumbling – ‘gratitude is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.’
- Confession replacing self-righteousness – keep short accounts with God and others; openness and honesty about personal weakness and sin.
- Accepting criticism, correction and humiliation – as an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to put to death the proud flesh; not touchy or defensive.
- Unconcerned over status, titles, privilege or access to the ‘inner circle.’
- More ready to listen to the other person’s point of view than air our own.
- Prayerful – God-dependent; ‘the proud person doesn’t feel the need to pray.’
- Never feeling that any task is beneath us.
- Sense of humour – ‘we must take the gospel seriously but not ourselves.’
- Not seeking credit or praise or being offended when it doesn’t come – willing to serve unseen.
- Not comparing self with others – ‘pride is essentially competitive’ (C.S. Lewis); the humble person does not need to pull down others to make himself feel better and when he does think of difficult people he thinks of them with generosity and love.
- Un-self-conscious – the truly humble man “will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all” (C.S. Lewis).
- Living in reality – pride lives in a dreamworld; humility sees the reality (True Truth) that I am tiny, sinful and pathetic while the LORD is infinite, great and wonderful; humility sees the gospel of Christ and gains strength by this gospel to face reality with joy.
iServe Africa is an indigenous Kenyan gospel-driven organisation that exists to promote faithful Bible teaching and servant leadership.