Let’s first get straight on what “becoming humble” is not. It’s not trying to think poorly of ourselves or denigrating ourselves or anything like that. It actually involves taking the focus off ourselves. Becoming humble is checking our tendency to think ourselves better than others, or more important, valuable, worthy of time or mindshare or respect. Becoming humble is shutting down our tendency to "size people up” and position them on some scale—based on money, title, education, geography, whatever. Becoming humble is recognizing all people as the careful works of God, equally worthy of love and sacrifice.
Becoming humble is counterintuitive, and it moves against prevailing culture. You see, we men want to feel successful, important—and have others consider us so. Culture trains us, therefore, to promote ourselves; to be strategic with our time and attention; to let positions determine our treatment of others. This training is foolish. It misses the sense and strength of humbleness.
Imagine someone humble. They’re often fearless, able to act on convictions, rather than trying to impress. Their decision-making is often sound, unclouded by insecurity or prejudice. They listen and welcome honest differences. They abide critics, crushed not by their criticism. They’re often magnetic, treating all people with respect. They engender loyalty, camaraderie. King Solomon wrote, “with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). We want to work with humble people. We want to work for them and have them work for us. We want them as spouses, friends. But, mostly, we should want to get humble ourselves.
Practice humility. Choose something this week: initiate a conversation and listen more than you talk; serve in a way that’s mundane or difficult (unpleasant, even); help someone anonymously; give someone the credit they deserve (even if you deserve some too).