Five Practical Ways to Cultivate Humility


Faith / Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

What if I told you there was really only one barrier keeping you from going deeper into your relationship with God?

And what if I told you there was really only one thing you needed to cultivate to overcome that barrier?

While I may not know you, or where you are in your personal walk with Jesus, it’s safe to say for all Christians the biggest barrier to an intimate life with Christ is pride. On some level (and if we’re honest, multiple levels) we believe we can do this without God. We believe we know better than God. Our pride will eventually lead us to distrust God- believing He isn’t looking out for our best interests; He isn’t really good. So we lose our peace, we feel anxious and restless, and we begin to strive. Suddenly, We lose sight of Jesus and disconnect from the God who loves us more than we could ever know. All because of pride.

The antidote to pride is humility. But not the self-deprecating kind of humility that downplays our gifting. And not the prideful kind of that destroys healthy boundaries and pushes you into a frenzied hustle all in the name of ‘service’. Those things are not true humility. True humility sets our gaze squarely on God and says: apart from You, I can do nothing- with You, I have everything.

Biblical humility calls us to live a life completely laid out before Christ. It is an abundant life, for when we humble ourselves, we are in a position to receive more of God and His Spirit- subsequently receiving His love, joy, peace, patience, and strength to do the good works he has prepared for us!

Five Practical Ways to Cultivate Humility. Download a free printable and read the full post at MaryKathrynTiller.com. #spiritualgrowth #discipleship #faith #christian #jesusgirl #biblestudy #freeresource #printableOur entire Christian walk is rooted in humility. So why not take some time to actively cultivate it? Throughout the month of March, in my Instagram stories, I took each Monday to set out a challenge to help us cultivate humility. So many of you messaged me to say you took screenshots of these challenges to refer back to them over the weeks. Due to the overwhelming response, I decided to write up this post, and store them all in one place (I even added one more, just for fun!)

In case you wanted to print these out and refer back to them occasionally, I created this fun printable for you to download (scroll down to the bottom to download your copy!). If one of these challenges has changed the way you think, or pray, or react to others, please leave a comment or send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Without further ado, here are five practical ways to cultivate humility:

Meditate and Memorize a Scripture about Humility.

In Romans 12:2, Paul pleads for us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds”. He’s talking about spiritual transformation here, becoming more Christ-like in our character and thinking. This renewal happens when we meditate on and memorize scripture, and that is why it is an essential part of cultivating a faithful heart.  For this challenge, pick a scripture centered on humility (I recommend Philippians 2:5-11) and meditate on it daily. Read it out loud each morning. Think on its truths as you drive, shower, wash dishes…you get the idea!

I would strongly suggest memorizing it. This is what God meant when He commands us to write scripture on our hearts (Prov. 3:3) and it’s one way the Holy Spirit speaks to and guides us throughout our day (sidenote: if you want a straightforward scripture memory process, check out my recent post, Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible (It’s Easier Than You Think!) Finally, share the scripture with others: recruit accountability partners or teach it to your children! The more you share it, the more it will be impressed upon your heart (and theirs).

Submit Your Agenda to His.

A great way to practice daily humility before God is to simply lift up your to-do list and submit your plans to Him. So often, we go about our day trying to get as much done as possible, but this kind of hustle can leave little room for the Holy Spirit to direct our path or change our plans. We often miss those around us whom God might have directed us to speak to, help, or encourage.

I designed our second challenge to combat this. Start each day thinking through or listing out everything you need to do. Next, offer each task to Christ, dedicating your day to Him, asking Him to guide your steps. As you complete each task ask Him, “What’s next?” and do as you feel led. Keep in mind, He may have you do something that is not on your list (like resting!). Finally, as interruptions come up in your day, lift them up to God. Believe that these are also from God and trust Him to lead you through each turn in the road.

Serve Others from a Fully Known Heart.

Psalm 139:1 says, “Lord, you have searched me and known me”. We know that Chris knows us fully and loves us anyway. This means, as Christians, we have nothing to hide, nothing to fear,  and nothing to prove. It is from this confidence that we need to serve others- and nowhere else.

For this challenge, begin by spending five minutes remembering who you are in Christ- fully known and loved by Him. It may be helpful to look up and read through a few verses that speak to your identity in Christ (I list several in my 7-day Faithful Hearts Study on Humility). Next, consider your purpose on Earth: to know and love God, and to know and love others. Now pray, and ask God to help you see and serve those He places in your path. As you go about your day/week, when possible, serve others. Serve them even if it’s not your job, even if it’s beneath you, and even if they don’t appreciate it. By humbly serving those around you, you become a physical representation of the Gospel and grace of Jesus Christ.

Honor Others Even When They Don’t Honor You

We all have those people in our lives who have a way of getting under our skin. They may be people we pass in our day or they may be permanent fixtures in our lives. Either way, a good practice when cultivating humility is to give honor to those who don’t honor us. This is a difficult challenge, but a necessary one, and one we see Christ demonstrate for us.

For this challenge, when you find yourself in a confrontation, be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). Before responding, take a breath, and remember you are both image bearers of God, deeply loved by Him. This basic human fact demands you treat the other person with dignity and show them the love Christ has for them, even in the midst of this difficult moment. Consider them better than yourself, meaning give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know what kind of heartache they are carrying around. Assume they are having a bad moment, not that they are a bad person. If it turns out their intentions are not honorable and it becomes clear talking further isn’t helpful, leave your defense to God (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Remember, as a Child of God, you have nothing to prove and no need to defend yourself. Accept that people may not always understand you, but God does and His is the only opinion that matters. Lastly, if you get the opportunity, serve them. This will not only display the Gospel and undeserved mercy of Christ but Proverbs 25:21-22 tells us showing kindness to those who have hurt us is like heaping hot coals on their heads…so, there’s always that!

Remember, He is God and You are Not.

As we discussed at the start of this post, cultivating humility is a process of combating and confessing our pride. For this challenge, ask God to show you the ways you attempt to stand apart from Him every day. Confess your desire to be self-sufficient and your tendency to act as if you know better than God. Whenever you are tempted to rely on yourself, turn your attention to God. Think of His goodness, His kindness, His faithfulness. Consider the ways He is moving in and around you and join Him in those things.

Think you might like that printable?

Fill out the form below to request your copy of the Cultivate Humility Printable! By downloading the printable, you’ll also receive my monthly Faithful Hearts Study, which you can unsubscribe from at any time (you can learn more about these seven-day devotional studies here).

Five Practical Ways to Cultivate Humility. Download a free printable and read the full post at MaryKathrynTiller.com. #spiritualgrowth #discipleship #faith #christian #jesusgirl #biblestudy #freeresource #printable

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2 Replies to “Five Practical Ways to Cultivate Humility”

  1. You are such a blessing, friend! I want to know how you cultivate TIME, too — because you’ve put so much wonderful thought into this and it shows. Humility is something God puts mightily on my heart — and I am quick to remember it’s because I have a tendency toward prideful thinking. How merciful and wonderful are His Word and unchanging love–always drawing us back to Him and correcting us as only He can.

    1. Wow, thank you so much, Rebecca! That is a huge compliment. This whole post was a month in the making, so I’m thrilled you found it helpful! And I completely agree- He is so kind to us, truly.

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