This story appears in FCA Magazine’s May/June 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
Living and competing with humility seems like such a simple principle; yet it is so challenging.
Humility is defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; freedom from pride and arrogance.” Quite honestly, I never thought of humility as “freeing” until I looked up the definition. But what a great perspective to have on a word that should really be our attitude and life’s mission as Christ-followers.
It can seem almost impossible to live humbly in a world that presses in on us each day to make ourselves better, to climb the ladder, to win championships and accolades. In the midst of all the messages to elevate “me,” how do we remain humble? How do we instead direct the praise from me to our teammates, coaches and Christ?
In his book “The Ideal Team Player,” Patrick Lencioni says the ideal team player embodies three virtues: humility, hunger and people smarts. Regarding humility, he says they lack excessive ego or concerns about status. Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.
Isn’t that awesome? Imagine how our teams, schools, organizations and communities would look if we all defined success as something done together rather than something done on our own.
This “we instead of me” mentality shouldn’t be new to Christ-followers. Just look through Scripture for God’s consistent emphasis on humility. For example, in Micah 6:8: “No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Nuggets of truth about humility like that are spread throughout His Word, but I believe living humbly can be narrowed down to three specific pieces of our lives.
Humble Hearts (Our True Self): “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” – James 4:10
Humble Minds (Our Thoughts): “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” – Romans 12:3
Humble Hands (Our Actions): “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13
It’s quite inspiring to see a coach or athlete at the pinnacle of success display humility. Wins and championships are great, but it’s only through the Spirit that we can compete with great effort and an attitude that reflects our desire to bring Him glory. Then, in success, the attention is deflected from ourselves to our Creator, along with all of those around us.
As followers of Christ, I want to encourage each of you to live in the freedom He’s given us. It’s in Him that we no longer have to feel burdened by the world’s expectations of success because the ultimate prize of eternal life has already been promised to us through His redemptive work on the cross. With that in mind, we are free to be who He made us to be—beloved sons and daughters of the King. No earthly win or title next to our name will ever mean more than that.
Peace and blessings to you,