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Four ways to be truly humble

by Edward Sowden

“Sometimes, I like to think of myself as being pretty good at sport… I even scored a goal for my soccer team on the weekend… Plus I can play the trumpet too… I like talking in front of large groups of people… I think I’m pretty smart… Actually God has given me talents in lots of areas… No wonder he saved me!”

Ever heard someone talk like that? Ever thought that to yourself? I have.

Maybe you are talented and good at lots of different things. But how does the Bible suggest we should use these talents we’ve got? Let’s have a look.

1. Don't think too highly of yourself

Romans 12:3 says:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

And so, the first challenge is to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. 

Sometimes we puff ourselves up very easily. We boast about our achievements,  our abilities, or even our godliness. And we also tend to compare ourselves to others and think “well at least I’m not like them”. 

Paul tells us to take a reality check and realise we are not as great as you think you are. But notice the way in which Paul says this, he says in verse 3: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you.”

Paul is not arrogantly telling us what to do. He is gently reminding us where we have all come from.

2. Remember who you were

You and me and Paul. All of us were once dead in sin.

Not one of us DESERVES God’s grace and forgiveness. He did not save you because of how impressive your talents are or because your good deeds outweigh your bad … or how many weeks you have gone to church in a row. It is only because of God’s incredible love for us that he sent Jesus to die and rise again so that we could be his people.  

This is the truth for every Christian. And that ought to keep us humble.

3. Act with humility

Just a few years ago I put something on Facebook about the accuracy of the bible and it sparked this big debate. To my shame, I was arguing with great pride, aiming only to win the argument, so I was blunt and insensitive. By the end I had failed to win the argument, but even worse I had failed to show respect. 

We must keep working hard on humility. This humility is particularly important amongst our church family, because we actually belong to one another. Have a look at verse Romans 12:4-5…

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We are called to be humble because we all have our place. No one is more important than anyone else because everyone is equally important. Everyone has a role in God's family, from the youngest to the oldest, paid ministry staff or volunteers, married or single, an impressive job or no job at all, if you play music or not. 

4. Play your part in God's big team

Paul goes on to say in Romans 12:6-8:

 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Now this is not an exhaustive list, but the point Paul is making is that God has given each of us different gifts and whatever yours happens to be he says USE IT. Your gift matters so use it. 

An example of this is a sports team. Like in soccer, you have a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and strikers. If you had a whole team of goalkeepers,you would never score any goals. And if we were all goal scorers, then you would have no one to defend. Each person in the team has a different job. And the team works best when everyone does their job. 

The body of Christ works best when everyone is using their gift. So the second challenge is to use the gifts we have to build up other christians. 

So don’t boast about how awesome your talents are, remember that they are just a gift given to you by God and use them to help others. We are called to serve with humility. 

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