Tim Challies: 10 Sure Marks of Humility

Is there any trait more odious than pride or more precious than humility? Is there any trait whose presence we so highly honor in others and whose absence we so readily excuse in ourselves? Truly, pride is the chief of sins and humility the highest of virtues. Yet the Christian has the joy of seeing the Holy Spirit put pride to death and bring to life the beauty of humility.

Traits of a Humble Person

A humble person thinks little of himself.

Job insists that God “saves the lowly,” which means, literally, “the person of low eyes” (Job 22:29). A truly humble person, in moments of honest introspection, thinks less of himself than even others think of him. He echoes David who insists, “I am a worm and not a man” (Psalm 22:6).

A humble person thinks better of others than of himself.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,” says Paul, “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). A humble person thinks better of others than of himself because he can see his own heart and the sin that lurks there better than he can see the heart of any other person. Though he knows the extent of his own depravity, he assumes the best of others. While he searches himself for every vestige of sin, he searches everyone else for every vestige of grace.

A humble person has a low assessment of his spiritual disciplines.

Just as worms breed in the sweetest fruit, pride breeds in the holiest duties. The humble person studies God’s Word and prays fervently, but then repents of his trite study and weak prayers. He knows that even his best moments are still marred by sin and his best efforts are still so weak. He goes about the Christian disciplines, but puts his confidence in his Savior, not his duties.

A humble person complains about his heart, not his circumstances.

Even when he faces difficulty, his greatest grief is the state of his heart. Where a hypocrite loves to boast about his goodness, the humble soul is always aware of his badness. Even Paul, who had the immense privilege of being caught up to the third heaven, cried out, “Wretched man that I am!” The more a Christian grows in knowledge, the more he becomes aware of his ignorance, of his lack of faith, and the more he cries out for God’s grace.

A humble person praises God in times of trouble.

He praises God even in times of great difficulty and refuses to condemn God for bringing such painful circumstances. With Abraham he says, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” With Job, he always refuses to charge God with any wrongdoing, for it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away.

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Source: Church Leaders