In Matthew 12:33, Jesus says, "A tree is recognized by its fruit" (NIV). The point He is making here is that you and I are known by the fruit in our lives. And if we develop the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), God will be honored and others will be drawn to Him through us.
Humility is a major fruit we need to develop to represent God well in this world and to be truly happy.
A humble person has the freedom to be wholly and completely who they are. They don't have to impress anybody. They don't feel pressured to be perfect or see themselves in competition with other people. They simply want to be the best version of them that they can be.
And that's what God wants for you and me. He doesn't see one person as more important than another. He gives us each the gifts and talents that we possess, as well as our privileges and position in life. It all comes from Him! So whether we are highly gifted in some area or we have an impressive job title, we are no more valuable to God than someone who seems to have fewer talents or whose work seems insignificant based on a worldly viewpoint.
It's so important for us to understand that our true worth and value is not found in what we do, but in doing what God asks us to do. God is looking on our hearts, our motives and attitudes, and if our motives are not right, then whatever we're doing, it is not acceptable to Him.
Jesus is our example of what it means to have a humble heart.
The Bible says that He, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).
Jesus was wholly God. He had no sin or worldly defects. Yet He humbled Himself and became human so He could fulfill the plan and purpose God called Him to do on the earth.
Jesus humbled Himself to the fullest … but look what happened.
Philippians 2:8-10 (NIV) says, "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth."
God exalted Jesus to the highest place of honor in heaven. And when you and I humble ourselves to carry out His plan, God lifts us up, too. (See 1 Peter 5:6.)
The Bible says that humility comes before honor and pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 15:33; 16:18). And from time to time, we can expect God to test us in the area of humility.
Maybe you work at a place where you're the only Christian and most days it's unpleasant to be there. Maybe you'd prefer to take another job, which you could, but you know in your heart that God put you there for this season in your life, and you're going to stay because it's where God needs you.
Maybe someone you know has mistreated you and you'd love to get them back, but you're doing the right thing and waiting on God, praying He'll bless them, because you trust God to bring about justice in your life.
We need these kinds of situations salt-and-peppered into our lives every now and then. The truth is we just can't seem to stay humble if all we have are blessings and success, because we start to think it's all about us!
Out of all the Christian virtues, humility is probably the most difficult to develop. It's something that has to be worked into us, just like a seed needs to be watered and nurtured in order to grow. We need to study humility in the Bible, spend time with God, and go through tests where we have to apply it. But it's so worth it!
Matthew 11:28-29 tells us that through humility, we find rest for our souls.
When God asks you to humble yourself time and time again and you feel like there's absolutely no way you can continue to do it, lean on Him to receive the strength you need.
God has so much that He wants to do in your life. He wants to give you favor and bless you in amazing ways. But first, you have to humble yourself and show Him that you'll do whatever He asks you to do with those blessings. Otherwise you run the risk of hurting other people, rather than helping them see the beauty of the loving, faithful, giving God that we serve.
Make a determined decision to humble yourself, like Christ showed us to do. Develop this beautiful fruit of the Spirit — by His grace — and enjoy the many benefits it brings to your life!