Humility is the one virtue we agree we need, and perhaps even want, but when push comes to shove, we shove it away.
This is simply because humility is when self is the last consideration in every situation.
But our hearts long to be the first consideration in every situation – or at least somewhere in the middle somewhere, but certainly not the last consideration in every situation.
The Bible is an expert on the tricks we use to keep humility away. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to the following five hindrances to humility that we so sadly excel in too often.
Hindrance #1: “It is all about me”
Philippians 2:3 corrects us to reject all selfishness and employ only humility in our dealings with one another. Paul (Philippians 1:12) and Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:30) are examples of the right way.
Hindrance #2: “I am a nobody” and its evil twin “I am the most important”
Galatians 5:26 warns us against being conceited (thinking highly of self), provoking one another (attempting to make others fall), and envying one another (thinking all the time about your poor misfortunes.)
Beware of the sin of comparing – be it to make yourself greater, or to make yourself lowlier. Don think so much about self, and don’t think about self so much.
Hindrance #3: “My opinions and preference need to be voiced”
Romans 14:13-16 teaches not to judge others based on preferences, but set even your most cherished preferences aside for the sake of others. Your opinion of what is best might be good, but when it becomes a hindrance to edifying relationships with other Christians, then your opinion, as good as it might be, will be considered evil.
Hindrance #4: “My complaints are always valid, so my complaining is OK”
James 5:9 has no exceptions. Instead, learn a lesson from those in those in the Scriptures who served God well but had it worse than you (James 5:10-11). Practise some more patience in your circumstances.
Hindrance #5: “I will be vindicated”
That dream of “I will be vindicated” is fuelled by the world’s view of human rights, not by Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 commands the exact opposite – do good even at the expense of being vindicated.
Humility does not grow if these five hindrances are allowed to grow.
Jonathan Edwards is quoted for saying: Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.
We can turn it around and say: Nothing sets humility so much out of our reach as these sinful hindrances.