If I could secretly reach into the heart of every man and turn the knobs, the first one I’d look for would be labeled ‘Humility.’ It would have an arrow pointing one way toward ‘Humble’ and one the other way labeled ‘Proud.’ Crank up the humility and you’re turning down the pride. I’d crank humility all the way up.

The word ‘humility’ comes from the same root word as ‘humus’ which means ‘fertile ground.’ When a man is humble, he becomes fertile ground for God to grow stuff in…stuff like love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control. Pride is the opposite. It says “I’ve got this,” “I don’t need help,” “I know what I need to know.” Pride grows arrogance and isolation – rarely wisdom or relational intimacy.

Humility has nothing to do with intelligence or competence. It’s about attitude. We behave based on what we believe. When we believe we’re awesome…better than others…deserving of what we have and more, we’ll have an attitude of pride and arrogance. When pride drives us, we press and compete and push ourselves to the top. We stick out our chests as we get the awards and paychecks and trophies. But it’s really hard to grow in wisdom at the same time.

John Lynch writing about his “Mensa” dad:

I wonder if many extremely intelligent people fail to learn great wisdom because they lack the humility demanded to receive it.

Humility is sometimes translated to the word meek. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). To me, He’s saying humble people recognize it all belongs to God to start with … that we can inherit what He wants to give us. We don’t start with “that’s mine – or it should be!” Humble people start with clear perspective that it’s His. We have our life, our breath, our being and our hope in Him. Humble people grasp that it all would end in death except for Grace. Thus gratitude.

Turn your knob to ‘humble’ and watch as people are drawn to you, want to help you, have empathy for you and your situation. Pride repels people. Humility attracts people AND God’s favor. Proverbs 3:34 (NLT) says “He has no use for conceited people, but shows favor to those who are humble.”

The only two adjectives Jesus ever used to describe himself – “for I am gentle and humble of heart.” The Bible (especially Proverbs) is packed with warnings about pride and promises for the humble. If you want to be like Jesus, you want to be humble. It’s a choice. You and I get to make it every day – in every interaction. Take this one with you today:

Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. (Phil. 2:3, CEV)

Think and Pray

Whether your knobs are cranked totally in the way of pride or in the way of humility, we can always find a way to hand more of the credit to others, and more importantly hand it to God.

Father give us a mindset of selflessness and true humility. Do not allow us to become prideful in our accomplishments, and constantly remind us that our lives aren’t about us, but rather about You. Amen

Regi Campbell is an investor and entrepreneur by trade, but his real passion is mentoring younger men. In 2007, Regi founded Radical Mentoring to help encourage and equip mentors and churches to launch mentoring groups. He has written four books: About My Father’s Business, Mentor Like Jesus, What Radical Husbands Do, and Radical Wisdom. Regi currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife of 47 years, Miriam.