An Encounter with Humility

From the LYWB.com Team: We’re shaking things up a bit round here on the Lies blog. Instead of blog posts, we’re leading you through an online Bible study. The study comes from Erin’s newest books, A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters. You don’t need copies of the books to participate, just yourself and your Bible. We will return to regularly scheduled programming October 9. Grab your Bible (and maybe your journal and a pen), and join us as we look at Jesus through the eyes of four New Testament women. (Psst . . . be sure to keep reading for your chance to win signed copies of A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters.)

Perhaps when you think of royalty, you imagine the fairy tale variety with a sprawling castle, huge throne, and great power. Maybe you imagine the modern royal family of Great Britain with their wedding spectaculars and endless stream of adorable kid pics. Either way, most of us think of power, authority, and celebrity status when we envision royalty.

Jesus has a way of turning our perspective upside down. Grab your Bible or click over to an online version like biblegateway.com, and read Revelation 19:16.

Jesus is a king all right! The Bible describes Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Power? Check.
Riches? Check.
Fame? Check!

And yet Jesus didn’t flaunt this while on earth. Instead, He demonstrated incredible humility.

Humili-what?

Humility is hard for us to understand because we live in a culture that places great value on achievement, fame, and wealth. The people we consider to be the greatest tend to be the ones who have much, not the ones who serve much.

Yet Jesus modeled humility, and He calls us to live humbly, too.

Every step of the way, in every single encounter, Jesus responded to people with grace and humility.

My favorite definition for humility is that humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, it’s thinking of ourselves less. Put in an equation, humility means you > me.

Every step of the way, in every single encounter, Jesus responded to people with grace and humility. He did not demand worship or flaunt His divinity. He wasn’t concerned with gaining wealth and power. Instead, He humbly served others.

Reality Check

Read Matthew 20:20–23.

The woman in this story is Salome. She was the mother of James and John, two of the first men that Jesus called to be among His twelve disciples. They had seen Jesus perform miracles and heard Him preach on the kingdom of God. They believed that Jesus would one day rule the earth as king. Salome’s request was for her sons to have power, prestige, and authority once Jesus sat on a physical throne.

Read Jesus’ response in Matthew 20:23–28.

Here’s the big idea: “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (vv. 26–28).

The way to be great is to serve.
The way to be great is to serve.
The way to be great is to serve.

We need to hear this often to get it through our thick skulls. God has called us to a way of living that feels upside down and topsy-turvy. We don’t get ahead by following Salome’s lead and asking for positions of power. We get ahead by following Jesus’ lead and serving others.

God has called us to a way of living that feels upside down and topsy-turvy.

Did Salome learn the lessons that Jesus came to teach? You can find out for yourself by reading Mark 15:37–41 and 16:1. (Hint: She did!)

I’m less concerned with Salome and more concerned with you and me. Do we know we serve a Savior who came to serve and not to be served? Do we understand that doing the same is what it takes to live like Christ? Not just once in awhile, not just when it’s convenient, but every day in a million ways that no one will likely thank us for?

What has God taught you about humility and serving others? Leave me a comment with your honest answer below. I’ll choose one of you to win signed copies of A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters.

PS: Thanks so much for being a part of our first ever LYWB.com online Bible study. We had a blast with you! If you’d like to do more online Bible studies, let us know. We’d love to hear your ideas for what to study next.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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  • Rachel Lee

    God has taught me to not practice my righteousness before others in order to be seen. Even when I serve, I must have a humble heart which means I should not expect anything in return.

  • Lillian French

    Jesus, the greatest of all, came humbly to serve. How much more should I be seeking to humbly serve others in His love.

  • isabella loiola castelo branco

    I’ve been challenged to focus on virtues that I’m not used to. God has given me opportunity to excercise paticence and trust. It’s not easy. On December 15th I’ll graduate in Business Administration. I love to organize things, be in charge and be aware of everything that is going on the enviroment and of course to have control. The point is: humility. To serve. Again, again and again. On the backstage. Thank you AGAIN, Erin. I’d love to see more Bible studies. You are amazing!

  • Terri Thomas

    Your study has been a blessing. Thank you. I do hope that there will be more.

  • Kayla Stewart

    Being humble means giving up our pride to serve and help others around us. I would love to see more online bible studies!!! Thanks for taking your time and resources to make this study possible, Erin. God bless!

  • Faith M. Borres

    God has taught me that humility is serving others rather than serving myself. Before (well, honestly until now sometimes) I thought that humility is yes, serving others but also serving myself by simply receiving something in return…. But by God’s grace and love, He taught me that humility is setting myself aside and putting others first. In the Bible, we can see how humble God is. Thank you for reminding me through this post what humility really means! ❤️

  • Rose

    It’s so God that this was the lesson today. I have been giving into the enemy and complaining everyday to my mom about every little thing and not being Humble like Jesus and serving to please Him and not what I myself get out if it. I have challenged myself to not complain anymore and serve with the spirit of Jesus and care only what He thinks in the end. It will be hard, so hard, but this is something I need to do. Thank you so much and I hope more studies will follow!

  • hannah

    God has taught me that I need to be more humble with everybody around me but really with my mom, dad, and sister. Thanks for this post Erin. ( p.s how do we know if we won one of the books. )

  • Duskflower

    I used to have a rather low self esteem and thought that made me humble, but God really has shown me that humility stems from knowing your unchanging worth in God (so you don’t feel downcast or try to make yourself more valuable, when you can’t) knowing others’ equal worth, so you spend more time serving others than thinking of yourself. Hating yourself and being humble are not synonymous – if anything, you’re too focused on your own problems.

  • Kerry

    I think sometimes we go on extremes with humility. We either think that putting others first and putting ourselves down and thinking lowly about our worth is humility and it’s not. Humility is putting others first but also knowing that you are not worthless or useless. And this lesson is so important especially in the world we live in where people are striving to be the best and be ”leaders” at work, church etc but they forget that great leadership comes from being able to serve others and lead by example. And that can only come from a humble heart. And what better leader to follow than the Master himself.

  • Nina

    Humility in my opinion is sometimes a hard balancing act. We can make it seem as though we should put ourselves down instead of just focus on putting others before ourselves and knowing that doesn’t mean we are worth less. It’s a hard thing to constantly think of others through a servants eyes, and we all fall short, but I only hope and pray that we as a Christian community can still show some of Him through our acts of service to others!
    I find myself wishing this Bible Study wasn’t over!! Please do another one again soon!

  • Georgie Walsh

    When I read in my bible and learn about all the amazing times that God thought of himself second and put others- no matter who they were, first. That for me shows the true grace of what living a godly life truly is. Putting people who you may not know or who aren’t that close to you, first – but because you are a child of christ- you willingly WANT to help others first and yourself second – Through my journey of christ, I’ve seen myself change and see my heart open and want to help others, no matter if they do or don’t notice it – not waiting for the praise and acknowledgement I once craved once I helped someone.

  • Rose P

    I’ve really enjoyed this online Bible study and would love to do more! God is teaching me so much about humility and about how selfish I’ve been even when I’ve been doing things for the church. I’ve been seeking praise and position and that is wrong. God’s challenging me to not think less of myself but to think of myself less. I’m so thankful for His grace and mercy – new every morning!

  • Coral Vásquez

    I’m enjoying this bible study so much! For me, one of my hardest battles is the one against my pride. I need to learn a lot about humility. It’s not easy to stay in a humble attitude when someone flatters your job or when someone asks you for advice. But i’m still in the fight.

  • Tess

    Thank you so much for doing this Bible study, I really enjoyed it!