• Mark Alan Williams

Who Needs Humility?

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

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The way Americans view humility is interesting. We dislike arrogance, yet people support a brash candidate who calls a Vietnam POW a “loser” because he was shot down and spent 5 years in a prison camp. We applaud modesty, yet enjoy watching the famous boxer Muhammad Ali exclaim “I am the greatest.” Seems we can’t help but ask: who needs humility?

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I’m pondering this incongruity about humility. Is it good? Is it important? Is it bad? Is it harmful?

Biblically speaking, there is no confusion. The Bible is clear about who needs humility. We all do!


God says that humility isn’t just a suggestion, it is absolutely vital and the key to true greatness. 


Today I’d like to share 3 answers to the question:  Who needs humility?


01. We all need humility if we’re going to be truly great.

The one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.” (see Luke 9:46-48 GW)


Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone.” (Mark 10:44 GW)


These statements might seem contradictory, but they are biblical truth.


They have been confirmed by researchers.


Jim Collins in Good to Great has called the very best business leaders Level 5 Leaders. They are leaders who build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. Collins points out that this is often in opposition to thinking that a great CEO has an extreme, egocentric personality.


Collins and his colleagues are only affirming what the Bible has been teaching for thousands of years! To be the greatest we must be humble.


02. We all need humility if we’re going to keep from falling.


“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)

Jesus said “Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.” (see Luke 14:7-11 GW)


This reason we need humility can be demonstrated in history and in everyday experience.


Hitler went against the advice of his generals and arrogantly continued the battle of Stalingrad even though the generals begged him to accept defeat. As a result, 100,000 additional German and Russian lives were lost at Stalingrad!


The same kind of thing happens when we refuse to admit our way might be wrong and therefore make mistakes:

  • We overestimate our physical prowess and get injured.

  • We refuse to heed warnings about texting and driving and crash.

  • We misjudge our financial capacity and overspend.

But when we’re humble, we humbly listen to wise counsel and avoid mistakes.


03. We all need humility if we’re going to please our Lord.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (see 1 Peter 5:5-7 KJV)

So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I’ve given you an example that you should follow.” (see John 13:12-17 GW)


Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.” (Romans 12:10 CEV)


Even if we think that meekness equals weakness, Christ-followers must be humble, submissive servants who honor others above ourselves.


This isn’t just a good idea, it’s God’s command! 

My inclination is to:

  • Be served rather than to serve

  • Be honored rather than honor

  • Work to rise in status instead of lowering myself

But no matter how I might feel, God’s Word is clear. My task is:

The result? When I leave it in God’s hands, He has told us that “Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.” (Luke 14:11 GW)


This surprising result is illustrated in the life of Christ. In Philippians 2 we’re told how Jesus lowered Himself like no one else ever will or could. As God the Son, He came to earth as a child, grew up to serve others and then died on the cross for our sins!


The result:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor     and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,     in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,     to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NLT)


What is the point of this passage? Interestingly, although it is one of the great passages about who Jesus was, the point is this: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:5 NLT)

Who needs humility? We all do if we’re going to please the Lord and rise to our highest level!


For more help, here are other articles I’ve written on humility, pride, confidence, humiliation and acceptance:



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