Humble


In a recent UnBlog we discussed what it means to be a “Humble follower of Christ”. In this post I would like to solicit your comments on how to become truly “Humble” in Christ, and what is the definition of a true disciple of Christ. I’m not so interested in the definition of the word, but the process to becoming this way – and why we should seek after this gift.

After I read your testimonies, I will summarize.  

There are so many faithful and spiritually evolved members of the UnBlog. I always enjoy your comments. Often, other readers tell me one of the best parts of the UnBlog is the faith and strength of those who participate and comment.

What say you?

Brother John

Please read everyone’s comments below. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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30 Responses to Humble

  1. Jon Richardson says:

    To me humility is the acknowledgement that
    1) I keep messing up in various ways
    2) I want to do better
    3) My greatest success and progress comes when I seek the Lord’s advice or apply the atonement
    4) Comparing with other people or being angry with them derails the above process. Separating from others in our feelings of superiority is a trifle insane when we hope that God will not have that same attitude with us

    And an anecdote:
    There was a forced merge on the freeway, and while merging I cut someone off. He got very angry, accelerated hard (he was in a muscle car), came around and drove me into the shoulder area then sped off. No harm was done to me or the car but as I drove on I fumed. If only I had a tomato launcher on my car, I would plaster him good. I then addressed God, and here’s the paraphrase of the conversation in my head:
    Me: I hope You wont let that guy into heaven!
    G: Really?
    Me: well it wasn’t that bad of a cutoff, he would hardly have to tap his brakes; but instead he goes nuts
    G: Perhaps he’s having a bad day.
    Me: I have bad days too but I don’t run people off the road. (then came my summary of why he shouldn’t go to heaven:) He was intentionally vicious.
    God: Ok, Granted. But are you sure you’ve never been intentionally vicious?
    (he then showed me that I was not guiltless)
    So you see, would you like to be condemned for it?

    Moral: Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

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  2. Marlene ( light gatherer) says:

    While singing the Sacrament hymn this morning I felt that humility was taught to me in this great hymn by Eliza R Snow. “Behold the great Reedemer Die”
    It taught me that as Christ was obedient to the father’s will that in verse 5, I must be obedient to His will for me. For me that is humility. To do the will of the Father also. Something I already knew, but was given to me again with a new impression. Thanks for encouraging us to ponder about humility.

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  3. jowo says:

    I think a truly humble follower of Christ can exude a great deal of confidence, this confidence coming from his understanding of his dependence on and relationship with his Heavenly Father and his Savior, and all that that entails. I find our prophets and apostles to be very strong, confident and mighty leaders; I look to them as great examples of humble followers of Christ. I believe part of humility is having the strength to choose the right, stand for the truth, and defend the light, and anytime one is engaged in that experience, with the growth that comes from what is learned from it, confidence grows in the individual with respect to his love for and confidence in the greatness of God, and thus the cycle continues, spiraling upwards towards sanctification and glorification.

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  4. Adrian says:

    Several years ago, when I had been married for about 2 years, I was struggling with financial difficulties. As a young father, my greatest worldly desire was to provide for my family, and failure was my greatest fear. I was failing, despite my best efforts, and frankly, I was terrified.

    A very inspired friend gave me a priesthood blessing in which he revealed that my financial difficulties were specifically contrived by the Lord to bring me to Him, and that if I were allowed to succeed according to my own efforts and intellect, I would not be having financial problems.

    This understanding actually led me to gratitude for the Lord’s intervention–that He actually wanted to save my soul and was blessing me with failure so I would turn to him.

    I think that was the first time I really ever understood anything about humility. Whereas I had been praying for success and money, instead I started praying that the Lord’s purposes would be fulfilled in my life. Rather soon, the trial, combined with knowledge of what the Lord was doing for me, gave me the courage to lay everything on the altar–my life, my family, my desires, my hopes, and my future. That was the moment when I was born again.

    I’m certainly no expert in humility. But when I think of humility, I think most of that experience, and specifically that the Lord lovingly denied my petitions so I could humble myself, if I would choose to do so.

    If I have to summarize humility, I do so by calling it the recognition that what I want is not necessarily what God wants for me, and that I have to make a choice. Choosing what God wants, whatever that entails, to me is humility.

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  5. DHP says:

    The first thing I thought of is that “we” need to disappear. Our efforts and focus need to be centered in Christ and in bringing glory to him. If what motivates us in any way is for our own recognition or attention, we become the focus and place ourselves in the lead – not a follower.

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  6. Tom Kennelly says:

    John, being in my 80th. year, humility continues to take on new meanings that I never had as a young man. Indeed life is a journey of learning, not a destination.

    To this old man, humility truly means coming to grips with the realization that regardless of how wonderful or how bright we think we are, there is always someone who can teach us. Indeed, if we recognize the fact, everyone we come in contact with can in one way or another “teach” us.

    My long departed, much loved Dad, once told me, after I had proudly announced all the things I was going to do to my old 1947 Fleetline Chevy—all of which were costly, and meant to “show off” ,quietly said, “Tom, do you have to learn every lesson in life the hard way? Can’t you see the mistakes your buddies have made, and what it has cost them financially and in speeding tickets? Can’t you learn from the mistakes of others? Do you have to duplicate every dumb thing that your friends do?”….Through the years those words have echoed through my mind in countless ways.

    Humility indeed, is the willingness to be taught. We can gain that humility by the school of hard knocks, or , if we are wise, we can observe the mistakes of others and gratefully recognize that we do not have to duplicate the poor choices others have made. We then can improve our own lives by going in another direction….walking with a little more humility.

    Finally, humility is the recognition that if we are living with a listening spirit to the sweet promptings that are available to all, we can know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, knows our needs, and will bless us accordingly—-if our desires are right and we are attempting to live as Christ-like as we can.

    To always bear in mind that our Heavenly Father and our Savior know our very thoughts and know our actions and these things will be included in our Book of Life should be constant reminders to conduct our lives with much gratitude and thanksgiving. To me this is the door to gaining humility.

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  7. Robin Carlson says:

    Dear Bro John:
    Just finished reading all previous (21 of them) responses. Thank you Rosamond T., FJC, David P., darrell b., ken h, James, Steve H., Frederick, Jeremy, djk, Mark, John B., Brett, Donald, and Brent. Each one of your responses helped me in my baby steps quest to understand “humble” and “humility”.
    Thank you Bro John for acting as the catalyst for this marvelous outpouring.
    Sincerely,
    Robin Carlson

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  8. Rosamond Taylor says:

    How to become humble? I think there is only one way – as King Benjamin taught, we have to recognize our own “nothingness”. There is no way we can get back to the Father’s presence by ourselves…absolutely no way. No matter how good we become, we can’t do it alone. We can’t undo our fallen nature and the consequences of sin.
    I’ve been pondering “a broken heart and a contrite spirit”. When I realize that there is no way to get back to the Father through my own works, it breaks my heart because I yearn to return to Him. I’m a “stranger” here in mortality. With the Father, I know I will be home. So my heart breaks with yearning. My spirit is contrite if I realize that the only path back is through Christ, through obedience to what He has taught and to that voice He has given us within. So, I submit to His will, as He submitted to the will of the Father. This is humility…recognizing that I can’t do it, that Christ has provided a way and I willingly bow to His will knowing that He would never ask anything of me that is not for my good.
    Of course, this is a process for most of us because as others have noted, we don’t submit to Christ’s will perfectly all the time. As mortals, we are creatures of habit. We have to learn the lessons over and over until they are so ingrained in us that they completely replace the natural man in our souls…until we lose the desire to sin and delight only in the things of the Lord. It breaks my heart over and over to realize that I can’t do it the first time. So I humbly recommit myself and try to take pleasure in the journey because I can look back and realize that I really have grown closer to the Lord, and therefore, to my Father.

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  9. FJC says:

    Words seem to be taking on new meaning to me these days. The “kingdom of heaven” always was a place that would be, someday, way in the future. Now it is what I hope to have access to each waking moment. Where the “greatest in the kingdom” had almost an arrogant flavor to it, now to me, it means those who have complete access to God. The other day I was watching a young mother take her child by the hand and cross the busy street, keeping her safe from drivers who took little or no notice. The child obeyed perfectly, without struggle, without question, without hesitation. The child was absolutely teachable, which is how President Kimball describes “humility.” “Except ye become converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Once upon a time this statement from Matthew had to do with the future life. Somehow, now it has to do with every waking moment.

    I’m convinced those who desire to become disciples of Christ and go to the living classroom each day will have multiple opportunities from all kinds of sources to exercise those muscles, putting on the armor, one piece at a time, becoming gloriously dressed before the Lord, just as He is.

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  10. The first thing that strikes me about replying to this is that it’s not very humble of me to think I have such great insight that I should think to be included as one of “so many faithful and spiritually evolved members.” What motivates me is the desire to share the blessings I have received from the Lord when I have been humble enough to receive those insights.

    My mother used to say, “Never pray for patience or humility. You will find yourself in situations that require you to have those qualities.” Meanwhile, my father was undermining her by always ending his prayers with what I think he intended as a catch-all for anything he might have left out: “We ask for these and all things thou seest we are in need of.”

    Considering that most of what we are in need of is acquired through patience and humility in adversity, that is precisely what he was asking for. For a long time I avoided inviting adversity, especially after I got the guts once to specifically ask for adversity, and like Pres. Eyring, quickly got what I asked for.

    After both developing a genuine trust in the Lord, and seeing the horrible mess I was making of my life trying to manage it on my terms, I began asking the Lord to do EVERYTHING I needed that was for my good. In short order, I saw every part of my life unraveling in ways that were only possible if the Lord was proceeding as I had requested. I mean, it just fell apart!

    Oddly, it was comforting and increased my faith. I knew the Lord had something great planned for me after he broke me apart and then reassembled me as he wanted me to be, but I also knew it would be how I wanted me to be as well, because I had learned that I can’t possibly choose my own happiness as well as the Lord can direct me to it, as long as I submitted completely.

    I had been barely holding everything together before. When I looked at the direction things were going now and saw that what I was heading for was losing everything, but knowing that the Lord was in control, I was okay with it. Like Lamoni’s father, Lamoni, I even stated that I was willing to lose everything to gain exaltation, and the Lord checked to see if I meant it.

    Those particular tests were where humility was essential. I had to overcome my feelings about what would easily have been provable to any jury as injustice, and just accept the outcome. I had to let it go. Not just the money and property and dignity, but my resentment at the people who were taking it from me.

    I won’t go into detail about the depths I was taken to, but destitute and friendless are good general descriptions. Sure, I whined a bit, but I never doubted that the Lord had a purpose, because I HAD asked for it. It made all the difference that I had chosen to accept all of his righteous chastening. I did indeed feel truly loved through experiences that are far too sacred to share even in this forum.

    Do I need to say that everything I lost has been restored and way beyond? I’m back fighting the Nephite curse of being blessed too abundantly, but I know that it’s better to let my treasures remain slippery in my own hands, than to force to Lord to do it for me. Most importantly, I see ahead of me a path to exaltation that I had come to accept was lost.

    My soul was truly saved from Hell. Though the journey is not through, the point was that I had accepted defeat, which was subjecting myself to the adversary. That is not humility. When I chose to submit to the Lord I was shown true humility, and it actually feels pretty good. My motto now is “He who will not be humbled will be humiliated.”

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    • David,

      This is a marvelous story, and a touching testimony. Thank you for sharing it and for having the faith and courage to go through it. I love your summary, “He who will not be humbled will be humiliated.” It isn’t the same thing – and humiliation is not a pathway to exaltation. However, enough hummiliation may eventually lead to true hummility. Thank you!

      Brother John

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  11. darrell brashear says:

    It seems to me that being a humble follower of Christ involves looking to Him in every thought. I think of the sacrament prayer where it says that those who always remember Him may always have His Spirit to be with them.

    That seems to me to be so simple and so beautiful. I know in my own life when my thoughts and the affections of my heart are centered upon Him I am a different person.

    It used to be when a temptation or challenge would come my way, I would use my willpower to try and work through it without looking to Him at all, but now I am coming to realize that He is the source of all goodness and strength and my focus turns more to Him as I seek to overcome.

    As I turn to Him more and more in my heart and mind, I am coming to know more of His goodness and grace. This causes me to trust Him and desire to yield my will more to Him. It seems so natural this way. I truly believe that my eventual sanctification will come as I yield my heart to Him. The yielding comes as a result of His goodness that He reveals to me which makes me hunger for more.

    Brother D.

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  12. ken h says:

    I feel that humility is the result of surrendering to the loving arms of Christ. It is an ongoing process that we must follow the Light of Christ to keep reminding ourselves that we are nothing without Christ. The more we depend on Him and rely not our own understanding, the greater the opportunity to receive humility. It is a gift from God by recognizing His hand in all things, especially the guidance and obedience to His voice. When we allow ourselves to divert our desires, thoughts, words, or actions away from Christ, we lose our eternal perspective that would keep us humble. Charity is..”to love someone for the person they are is good. But to love someone for the person that they can become is charity.” As following the Savior’s voice is essential to obtaining and maintaining humility, the same process opens the door to obtaining greater faith, hope, and charity. Each of these gifts are intertwined and required for happiness. I find myself struggling to stay focused for a sustainable time to stay on track with what i have written. That is one of my weaknesses that I am seeking to have Christ help me overcome. Thank you Brother John for another opportunity to express sacred things.

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  13. James says:

    I believe one of the best teachings about true humility is Mosiah 4:1-12. The antidote for pride is not humility, but knowledge, specifically knowledge of the goodness of God, which knowledge awakens us to a sense of our own nothingness. That knowledge is a gift from God. The result is true humility, joy, charity, etc.

    Those who find it hard to be humble because they’re so good simply lack awareness of the true nature of things. Our world doesn’t help because it continually boasts how informed and in control it is. When we consider, however, what do we mortals really know or control, about the world around us and about ourselves, the honest in heart will admit we don’t know squat. We just exist here by some magical gift. All the whys remain mysterious. Our so-called innate abilities seemingly came from nowhere. Then, suddenly one day God reveals Himself, and we are compelled to proclaim that all Glory belongs to Him.

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  14. Steve H. says:

    Humility, like patience, is a gift one prays for at his own risk.

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  15. Frederick says:

    This was a great topic to ponder. Recently I’ve been doing my best to follow the Spirit exactly, right when I receive a prompting and do exactly according to that prompting. At first I thought, this shouldn’t be too difficult. I have such a strong desire to follow the Spirit. Though, when some promptings came, I instantly find myself saying in my mind, “right now? Again? Maybe another time might be more convenient, etc…” I was surprised at my own thoughts, as I so greatly desire to do the will of my Father. I am realizing two things in this process, first, I am very much like a child, and being submissive as a child has a whole new meaning to me. Secondly is the humble part. I am learning to be humble and realize that I will never be asked to do anything other than what will be good for me. I am also realizing that my flesh is weak, much weaker than I would have thought at times, and this is a very humbling process. Weaknesses I would have considered overcome, are still at times obstacles, unless I completely submit to my Father and rely solely upon His strength. I am truly nothing, save I receive strength or goodness from Him. It is a humbling process to follow the Spirit and follow Christ in all we do.

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  16. Jeremy says:

    TRUE Humility:
    Receive His presence
    Comprehend that man is nothing
    His glory allows us into His presence
    Humility is our worship towards Him
    Satan has no glory-pride is our worship towards him

    Moses 1
    8…he greatly marveled and wondered.

    9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

    10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

    11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

    12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

    13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

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  17. djk says:

    A true disciple of Christ has become one with Him and His Father. The disciple has carried his cross, having suffered shame for the Lord’s sake and feels a great abbhorence for the things of this world. The disciple has become humble, having learned through sad experience the nature of almost all men, including her/himself is to hide sins and gratify pride. Therefore, the disciple pleads with others to seek for guidance from the source of all truth and light and not from other men, because he/she has experienced the inexpressable joy and edification that comes from being in the Master’s presence and wants that for everybody, regardless of faith.

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  18. Mark says:

    Seems the only way I’ve found humility in Christ is on his terms, by asking him to work His will on me and me being willing to allow it. Just when I think “I am finally humble” I am quickly chastened and reminded how I am not sufficiently meek. Every time I think I have an accurate full inventory of all my weaknesses, I seem to be reminded of others. Those spoken of in the Book of Mormon that are humble and not compelled are my heroes. I just don’t seem to naturally have that gift, so the moments it does seem to arrive, I appreciate, but have a difficult time remaining meek. I guess I’m a slow learner. It is in my opinion, next to charity, the most Christlike character trait that we can obtain and I believe it is a precursor for the gift of charity. Humility must be a gift, because I have also learned that I cannot produce it myself. I’m not sure one can even try to be humble. You’re either humble or not. Asking for humility is the surest way to knowing that your prayers are being heard!

    I think I’ve concluded in my own head that the only way to be a true disciple of Christ is to truly be humble. Seems like a process that ultimately is a gift from the one who is the source of all good. Again, ours to allow to be done to us, but ultimately done by Him.

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  19. John B says:

    I think Mormon and Moroni give us some helpful tips for what we need to become a true disciple of Christ.

    If you had just witnessed the entire destruction of you people, had just written about the entire destruction of the Jaredite civilization and knew of the coming destruction of those who would receive your words. What last words of advice would you give?
    • Faith
    • Hope
    • Charity

    Without charity (and the traits that lead to it) can we really ever become a “true” disciple of Christ?

    Here is their logic:
    • Being peaceable, meek, humble, and searching for good things that are of God will persuade men to believe in Christ.
    • This leads to faith (Note: faith is more than belief – it is acting on that belief). You cannot have faith without hope (this is a hope for the fulfillment of our covenants and in the resurrection and atonement – that we can one day return to Him). (How we treat others is very clear for all to see if we have faith, hope and charity and we get these attributes only by being meek and humble first.)
    • Faith then leads to Charity – which is the pure love of Christ. Everything before this leads to Charity and is a prerequisite. Charity is what will transform us and the world and is the foundation and prerequisite for Zion and the sociality that exists here after.

    This is the preparation for Zion and without Faith, Hope and Charity we will not be prepared for the coming trials (which will test our discipleship) or to be worthy of His presence.

    As a quick contrast let’s look at the anti-thesis of Charity to see how we rank:
    • Are we easily offended or provoked?
    • Are we quick to anger?
    • Are we impatient?
    • Do we envy others?
    • Are we unkind?
    • Do we seek our own (interests) over others?
    • Do we think evil of others?
    • Do we rejoice in iniquity? (e.g. TV & Movies – immorality & violence)
    • Are we unable to bear all things?
    • Are we unable to endure the smallest criticism?

    Those who are meek, humble, lowly of heart, filled with faith, hope and charity will be the true followers of Christ. Yes, many may belong to His church but to know Him (and therefore be know by Him) we must be like Him which is to have charity.

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  20. Brett says:

    I think being a “humble follower of Christ” should be taken in the context of Chapter 28, and really all of Nephi’s message including Isaiah.

    Nephi is describing people who are proud. They are stiff-necked — meaning they do not bow their heads. They are after their own desires and not the will of God.

    Going after your own desires is pride. It is saying that you know more than God. So they don’t live LIKE God, which is sin. If they lived like God they would not rob the poor, but have compassion and charity. They would concern less about themselves and more about others.

    In the end they think so highly of their own opinion they think they are wise. This pride also tends to make them think the are better. They are better because they’ve done better in the world or because they think they are men of God and are more righteous than others.

    The humble followers of Christ put God first. They put truth first. They are okay with themselves being fallen, inferior. They know their way is not the best way. This humility allows them to be able to seek for truth. In one sense, a humble follower of Christ is teachable–endlessly teachable. They are always learning. And seeking true messengers. They rely on God alone to reveal truth.

    Yet, they do err. We all grow up with traditions and customs-teachings of man. It’s unavoidable. In their search for truth, they sometimes accept the teachings of man.

    This is very difficult to undo. In trying to learn, we accept the false teachings of our parents and our teachers. We are trying to learn and we soak up everything. Even some untruths.

    I think what Nephi is trying to say, is that we have to create a filter. As we search for truth, the Spirit has to be that filter that only allows truth in.

    Those who do not have this filter will accept false doctrine of the world. Those who take the Spirit to be their guide, are the humble followers of Christ.

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  21. Donald says:

    The first thing that came to my mind is doing what the Lord wants us to do even when we don’t want to do it…. submitting to His will in all things.

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  22. Brent says:

    What a great opportunity to comment. The Lord has blessed me with great capacity in this life. I excel in the computer industry with large complex systems I am regularly called on to design and/or fix things that teams of other people struggle with. This environment does not lend itself to humility.

    However, I have found that I am best at my job when listening to the quiet promptings of the spirit telling me on how best to go about what needs to be done. That said, overcoming pride through the Lord is the only way that I can do my job the best. Being imperfect I sometimes must struggle more before the Lord will assist me. Pride is generally the first fruits of drifting for me. In my opinion, the opposite of pride is love. To eliminate pride, I must increase my love for the Lord and my fellowman. This comes through repentance, and mighty prayer. Only when I acknowledge my complete dependence on Him, can I begin to get the needed perspective and clean the inner vessel again. Humility follows.

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