The Essence of Humility


Let me close this discussion on humility by saying that I believe all serious Christian leaders live in the middle, between pride and humility. I am dubious of the "all or nothing" advocates. Take for example Andrew Murray's classic, Humility. He wrote in absolute categories; his sentences don't seem to leave room for living:

Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.... Humility must sow the seed, or there can be no reaping in heaven. Look not at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue: for the one is death, and the other is life; the one is all hell, the other is all heaven. So much as you have of pride within you, you have of the fallen angel alive in you; so much as you have of true humility, so much you have of the Lamb of God within you.[1]

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Not much room for the way life is really lived. Neither do I think Paul's teaching in Philippians 4:6-13—"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (NKJV)—means that a Christian will never have anxiety. It is not as if we live in one of two states: the state of anxiety or the state of zero anxiety. Paul was saying that we live with anxiety and we manage that anxiety through prayer.

Similarly, we live with a little dash of pride, here and there, with a patina of humility. So learn to live with some anxiety about your humility. God chose Peter, the least humble and most reckless of his disciples, to lead his church. Peter gave his life as a flawed man who lived in the knowledge of who he depended on. That, my friends, is the essence of humility.


1. Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., n.d.), 133-134.

Written by Bill Hull

Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash