Why Be Humble? (2)

Why be humble?

Many serving in the armed forces equate humility to weakness. They believe military men and women must be strong, decisive, and self-assured. If you want to be humble, you should look for a job in a softer, gentler profession.

People who think like this are off target. A humble soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine can perform military duties with excellence. In fact, many successful leaders in a variety of high-pressure jobs are polar opposites of the arrogant, me-first folks who discredit the value of humility.

For Christians, the rationale for being humble is straightforward. God expects it of us. The Bible tells us that in all our relationships, we’re to conduct ourselves humbly.

Three reasons to be humble

The most helpful teaching on humility in God’s word is found in Philippians 2. During a visit to Philippi, Paul developed a deep love for members of the young church. He’d been disturbed by reports about divisions within the congregation and wrote to encourage his friends to put their differences behind them.

Paul provided his readers three reasons Jesus’ followers should be humble. Our primary motive should be that Jesus set the standard for humility His Father wants us to copy. The apostle encourages us to:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

 A second reason Christians should be humble focuses on relationships inside the church. Paul urges the Philippians to be united—in thought, love, spirit, and purpose. The apostle encouraged Jesus’ followers in Galatia to remember they were all one in Christ. Ethnic and religious backgrounds were irrelevant. Nothing was to come between men and women of faith.

How effective would a military unit be if disagreement, disrespect, and distrust ran rampant through its ranks? I certainly wouldn’t want to go into combat in such a dysfunctional team.

Similarly, Jesus’ followers can’t accomplish our God-given mission effectively if we operate in disunity. Humility produces the teamwork essential to building up other Christians while taking the gospel to all who have yet to hear or accept it.

Paul’s final reason we should be humble has an outward focus. We’re to be lights in a dark world. Many of the people we spend time with are clueless about the Bible’s teaching. They hear the name Jesus only in the string of profanity that falls so easily off the lips of friends and co-workers.

We may provide the only exposure to Jesus and what He’s done for mankind these people will experience. And the only way we’ll make any headway in drawing them closer to the Lord is by approaching the task humbly.

Perhaps Peter—who could be quite aggressive—realized his own shortcomings as he encouraged young Christians to be humble. He told them to be ready to tell others what hope in Christ is all about, but to do it with gentleness—in other words, humbly.

People who aren’t yet Christians are watching closely. They see everything you do and hear everything you say. They’re waiting to catch you living in a way contrary to what your faith requires so they can justify their rejection of Christ. If we’re truly humble, we deprive them of a reason to turn their backs on Jesus.


Who’s watching you?
How can you better copy the humility of Jesus as you seek to live in unity with other Christians and to be a good witness among those who aren’t yet following Christ?


Series: Considering the character of humility as a Christian in the military.

1. What is Humility?
2. Why be Humble?
3. Paul’s Requirements for Humility
4. The Rewards of Humility