vs. Pride
Recognizing that without the help of God and others my achievements in life would not have been possible

Key Verse

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
James 4:6

The operational definition of humility is “recognizing that without the help of God and others my achievements in life would not have been possible.” Without God, you would not even have air to breathe! Without the care of others, you would not have been able to survive. Every person on the planet is dependent on God and others, so there is no reason to feel more important than anyone else. In contrast to us, God is self-sufficient, all-knowing, and all-powerful — He reigns over all the earth, now and forever! Do you see how lowly we all are compared to the greatness of God? “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4). May we respond with praise to God for Who He is and thank Him for His many blessings.

Washing dirty feet was regarded as a lowly task in Biblical times. A humble person will lovingly serve others, even in menial ways.
A puffer fish enlarges his body to appear larger than his normal size. Similarly, a person who is “puffed up” with pride attempts to present himself as better than he is.

The opposite of humility is pride. Pride is an exaggerated view of oneself. Did you know that all conflict is rooted in pride? (See Proverbs 13:10.) A proud person thinks he is better than other people. He does not want to acknowledge his need for God or anyone else. He talks about his own strengths and downplays others’ abilities. A proud person assumes he has the right to make his own decisions. Pride was first expressed when Lucifer said in his heart, “. . . I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). His intention was to compete with God and to receive praise that belongs only to God. Therefore, God cast Lucifer to earth, where he became Satan and tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against God. Since the Garden of Eden, people have pridefully wanted to live independently of God and have their own way. Pride is an abomination to the Lord that will not go unpunished. (See Proverbs 16:5.)

Evaluation Questions

  • Do I acknowledge my need for God and believe that He is all I need?
  • How have I acknowledged those who have invested in me?
  • Am I teachable and ready to learn from others?
  • Am I willing to do a menial task with a cheerful attitude?
  • Whenever I am corrected by others, do I welcome or resist their instruction?
  • How do I treat people who do not meet the expectations I have of them?
  • When I disagree with someone, am I willing to listen or quick to argue?
  • Do I recognize God’s worthiness and praise Him for His faithfulness and majesty?
  • Do I compare myself to others in order to feel better about myself?

More About Humility

“All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God, because they reckoned on God being with them.”
J. Hudson Taylor
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Humility with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Remember what He has done for me.

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” Psalm 105:5 “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” Deuteronomy 8:2

Submit to Him.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Have a servant’s heart.

“But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Luke 22:26 “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Acknowledge those who have helped me succeed.

“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” Romans 16:1–2

Have a teachable spirit.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15

See my true condition.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23–24

Think of no task as beneath my dignity.

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14–15

Avoid boasting or bragging.

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” Proverbs 27:2

Esteem others as better than myself.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

Give Him credit when I am praised.

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” II Corinthians 10:17

Humility in Scripture

The Publican Pleads for Mercy

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are . . . . And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, . . . saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Luke 18:11, 13
Prayer was an important part of Jesus’ life on earth. His public ministry began with prayer to His Father after He was baptized by John the Baptist. (See Matthew 4:2.) On the cross, Jesus concluded His earthly ministry when He prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Prayer is talking with God, realizing that we are dependent on Him and that He is worthy of praise. Often after Jesus preached and healed, He would retreat to a quiet place to talk to His Father. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He told them to approach God reverently, repent of their sin, forgive others, and trust God to provide for their needs. Another time, Jesus told a parable which illustrated that His Father rewards persistent prayer. In the parable, a widow pleaded with a judge and would not stop until she received justice. Jesus also told a parable about two men who went to the Temple to pray. The two men were opposites: one was a despised tax collector and the other man was a religious leader. How would each man approach God in prayer? Would each recognize his true spiritual condition before God? Which person would be justified by God?

Revealed in Nature

Turkey Vulture

The turkey vulture has repulsive features, yet it plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature by devouring carcasses that otherwise would spread disease and death.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to replace pride with praise as they acknowledge how God and others have helped them to grow and succeed.

View the Humility booklet sample:

Get the complete Humility booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Humility

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“A man who clings to his own righteousness is like a man who grasps a millstone to prevent himself from sinking in a flood.”
C. H. Spurgeon