You might agree that being a humble person is a good thing, but what does it actually mean to be a humble person?
Here are 7 characteristics of a truly humble person:
1. A Humble Person is Not Focused On Themself
A truly humble person is a person who is not focused on themselves. A humble person neither exalts themselves nor debases themselves but bases their view of self solely on what God says about them.
Being a humble person is a necessity if you want to walk with God. The Bible says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Being a humble person is key to receiving the grace of God in your life. It is worth the time necessary to learn what the Bible has to say about humility and how we can become a humble person.
2. A Humble Person Trusts God, Not Themselves
A humble person puts their trust in God. A humble person relies on God and is focused on what God says over their own opinions. A humble person cares what God says, not what man says.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
We either trust God, trust man, or trust ourselves. Putting your trust in anything but God is foolish and based in pride.
A humble person puts their trust in God. For example, a humble person believes God when He says He is the One who will promote you. Therefore, a humble person will not cheat to get ahead, they will trust God to promote them like He said He would.
A humble person believes God when He says something and acts accordingly. When God says “by His stripes you are healed” (1 Peter 2:24), and you say “no I’m not, I’m sick”, this is not humility. A humble person will accept what God says as truth.
When God says “I have made you righteous and clean” (2 Corinthians 5:21, John 15:3), and you say “No, I am filthy and rotten”, you are calling God a liar. A humble person trusts what God says and accepts it as the truth.
Humility requires you to walk by faith – faith that God is the judge and that promotion comes from Him (Psalm 75:6-7), faith that God will resist the proud but give grace unto the humble (1 Pet. 5:5).
At the simplest level, being a humble person is trusting in God and not in yourself.
3. A Humble Person is not Proud or Arrogant
The Bible says that after pride always comes a fall. Being proud is basically trusting in yourself rather than trusting God. The end of pride is the ultimate fall- to end up in hell, eternally away from God.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Pride is not just exalting yourself. Pride is also disagreeing with what God says about you. If you won’t share what God has done in your life because of fear of how people will respond, that is pride. The fear of man is rooted in pride and will keep you from sharing the Gospel.
Receiving salvation requires humility. You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and in need of a savior. Proud people will not acknowledge their need for God, and it always leads to destruction.
A humble person understands who God is and walks in a reverence toward Him. Jesus walked in the spirit of the fear of the Lord. We need this more than ever in today’s world.
Because of God’s longsuffering towards us, many believe that He doesn’t notice the evil that is going on. This is not accurate.
The Bible says that God sees and knows everything. Walking in the fear of the Lord will keep us from sin.
In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. Proverbs 16:6
Without God, humanity is hopeless. You must acknowledge your need and dependence on God in order to be a humble person.
God is infinitely smarter than man could ever imagine being. We truly need Him all the time.
A humble person does not exalt themselves. They are not seeking their own glory, but the glory of God.
…So to seek one’s own glory is not glory. Proverbs 25:27
One of the dominant characteristics of being a humble person is being dependent on God, rather than self.
In today’s culture, being self- sufficient is praised. Being a “self-made” man is honored. But God does not honor this.
We were created to be dependent on God. When we think that we can do it all ourselves, we are basically saying that we are smarter than God. This is wrong.
Being a humble person means you trust God’s Word over your own ideas and you are a God dependent person. A humble person is always acknowledging their need for God.
4. A Humble Person is Teachable
When the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in His kingdom, His answer probably shocked them.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4
Little children are teachable, and completely dependent on their parents. Little children are trusting and believe what their parents say.
The more we humble ourselves in the same way, the greater we are in the kingdom of heaven.
Ask the Lord for a teachable spirit. A humble person is always seeking to learn the Lord’s ways. A humble person is always asking the Lord to show them where they are not operating according to His ways and will receive instruction when they are corrected.
We’ve all met people who are “know it alls”.
These people can’t be taught anything because they believe they already know everything. This is a blatant example of a proud person.
A humble person will readily acknowledge that there is a lot they don’t know and will be teachable.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. Proverbs 9:9
5. A Humble Person is Willing to Admit When They Are Wrong
A key attribute of a humble person is their ability to accept correction and admit when they are wrong. The ability to apologize when you have done wrong means you are not overly focused on yourself.
A humble person will always accept correction when rebuked. This is a dominant trait of wisdom. You will never find a wise person who won’t accept instruction.
Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life. Proverbs 4:13
Because a humble person is focused on doing the will of God, they will admit when they have done wrong and seek forgiveness from whom they have wronged.
God’s heart is never to hurt someone. A humble person will recognize when they have hurt one of God’s children and will be willing to apologize.
6. A Humble Person Thinks of Others
A humble person isn’t all wrapped up in themselves. They accept what God says about them and accept the reality that they are incredibly loved by God.
Then, out of that place of security, they are able to look to the needs of others as God instructs them.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Romans 12:10
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
A humble person is able to put others above themselves. They don’t always have to be first. They don’t always have to get the best, because they trust God to provide for them. Look at the example of Lot and Abraham in the Bible.
Abraham trusted God to be His provider, so he was able to let Lot choose which plot of land he wanted. Lot chose the best one, of course. But because of Abraham’s trust in God, he turned out on top regardless (Genesis 13).
God’s path to greatness is through being a humble person. Jesus taught and modeled that whoever is great in the Kingdom will be the servant of others.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
7. A Humble Person Casts Their Cares on the Lord
Look at what the Bible says in 1 Peter about how to be a humble person.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
This verse says that the way we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God is by casting all of our care upon Him!
A prideful person will not do this. Prideful people think they don’t need God, that they can handle their problems all on their own. This is foolishness.
A humble person will obey the Word of God by casting their care onto the Lord. For more about how to live a lifestyle of casting your care onto the Lord, read How to Practically Cast Your Burdens on the Lord.
Jesus is a Humble Person
If we really want to understand what it means to be a humble person, we need not look any farther than Jesus, who walked in perfect humility.
Jesus did not seek His own glory, He wanted to glorify the Father in everything He did.
And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. John 8:50
Jesus was on a mission to do the will of the Father, not His own will. This is the definition of humility. It’s putting your own will aside and focusing on the will of the Father.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38
Jesus honored and sought to glorify the Father in everything He did. He only did what the Father told Him to do. He walked in complete dependence on God.
God is Humble
Jesus was God in the flesh. He was the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3).
The humility of God is mind blowing. The Creator of the Universe became man to save us. He allowed the very people He created to mock and crucify Him. True love requires such humility.
The King of the Universe was born in a barn with animals. He walked among His own creation, in the world He created, and was not known by us. He was not celebrated or honored as the God He is, but was mocked, tortured and killed.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:11
God is perfect humility. It’s hard to wrap our minds around Someone that great being that humble. It is truly amazing.
It’s why we love movies where a powerful king is humble and lowly- because it bears witness with our spirit of how our real King is. He is meek and lowly.
The King of the universe, the God of all power, was willing to stoop and serve you.
I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them. Hosea 11:4
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
How Does the Bible Describe a Humble Person?
The Bible teaches that being a humble person is something you can choose to do. It is not a character trait that some are born with and some are not. Being a humble person is something you can grow in and develop in your life, and it’s very important to do so.
But being humble is different than what many people think. Many people would associate being humble with being quiet or shy, and that’s not the case. Shy or quiet people can be just as selfish as loud and extroverted people. Humility is a position of the heart.
In Numbers 12:3, it is recorded that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. Do you know what is so interesting about this verse? Moses is the one who recorded this verse!
In our modern way of thinking, we would supposed that someone who said they were humble would not actually be humble. But we see here that being humble is just accepting what God says about us above anything else.
To be humble is to agree with what God says. In doing this, you position yourself in a place of humility before God by submitting to what He says above your own observations and opinions. You acknowledge that He is God, and you are not. This is truly being a humble person.