Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Col 3:12

Humility is a characteristic that is absolutely essential for missionaries. There is a reason that humility is emphasized so strongly, in Scripture, as an admirable trait for believers to possess. Humility is what keeps us grounded and allows believer to work together as one body so that we may accomplish the work that the Lord has set before us.

What Is Humility?

Humility is a quality characterized by modesty, respectfulness, and a lack of arrogance or excessive pride. It involves recognizing one’s own limitations and limitations of one’s achievements, and viewing oneself as equal to others rather than superior.

Humility involves being open-minded, approachable, and willing to learn from others. It also involves being willing to serve and putting others before oneself. In short, humility is the opposite of conceit and self-aggrandizement, and is considered of high importance throughout Scripture.

Why Is Humility Important In Missions?

Humility is a crucial aspect of missionary work because it helps create an environment in which the message of the gospel can be effectively shared and received. When missionaries approach their work with humility, they are more able to build trust with those they serve, listen to their needs, and understand their perspectives. This can help facilitate meaningful relationships and effective communication, which is essential for making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Humility can also help missionaries better navigate the challenges that often accompany mission work, such as cultural differences, language barriers, and opposition to their message. By approaching these challenges with a humble and open-minded attitude, missionaries can more easily spot their weak areas and put more effort into learning whatever needs to be learned. Humility also allows the missionary to remain focused on their ultimate goal of serving others and sharing the gospel, rather than becoming bogged down by personal pride or frustration.

Humility can also lead to personal growth and spiritual maturity for the missionary, as it helps them to remain grounded in their faith and focused on serving others rather than seeking personal recognition or success. When one recognizes that they, themselves, are a fallible human being only then can they open the door to learning and growth.

Humility Creates Better Relationships

Humility is the backbone of healthy relationship, both within a missions team and in the field with those being served.

In a team setting, humility allows for:

  • Improved communication
  • Reduced conflict
  • Increased cooperation
  • Greater flexibility and
  • Better decision-making all around. 

When humility is allowed to surface, one’s individual feelings or needs don’t take precedence over the groups. There is a general understanding that what meets the needs of the team will also cover the needs of the individuals, and that everyone’s feelings matter.

Humility can create opportunities for deeper, more meaningful connections and understanding. When individuals approach relationships with a willingness to learn from each other, they can gain new perspectives and insights that can enrich their own lives and the relationship as a whole.

In the context of mission work, cultivating humility can lead to better relationships with those being served, as it creates an environment of respect, trust, and understanding, and allows missionaries to effectively meet the needs of those they serve. By approaching their work with humility, missionaries can build meaningful relationships with those they serve, and make a lasting impact in their lives.

Some Obstacles To Humility And How To Overcome Them

Humility doesn’t always come easily, unfortunately. We are all human, which means that we are susceptible to the same pitfalls as everyone else when it comes to remaining humble.

Some examples of obstacles may be:

Pride One of the biggest obstacles to humility is pride, or an over-inflated sense of self-importance. This can make it difficult for individuals to recognize their limitations or mistakes, and can lead to a refusal to seek help or advice from others.

Ego Another obstacle to humility is an overly inflated ego, which can cause individuals to seek recognition, praise, or attention from others. This can lead to a desire to dominate conversations or prove oneself right, rather than seeking to understand or learn from others. Our egos can also prevent us from seeing our weaknesses or areas in which we need to grow by learning from those around us.

Fear of Rejection Fear of rejection is one that most of us don’t think about as an obstacle to humility. However, fear of rejection can be a powerful motivation for not allowing ourselves to be seen as uninformed or inadequate in some way. This fear can lead individuals to try to control the impression they make on others, rather than being open and vulnerable.

To overcome these obstacles, Christians can draw on the teachings and example of Jesus, who exemplified humility and service to others. They can also seek to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of God and their own relationship with Him, which can help cultivate a spirit of humility. Seeking out the support of their community through accountability partners, mentorship, and seeking wisdom from others can also be a great way to overcome struggles to maintain humility.
Another choice that believers can make is to lean into spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, and self-reflection. These spiritual tools can allow Christians to remain grounded in the Lord and focused on serving others rather than seeking recognition or success.

Without humility, it would be impossible to do the God-given work and responsibility of sharing the gospel with others. It would also be impossible to sit in community with other believers due to the isolating nature of self-centeredness. When you really think about it, humility is a gift from God that leads us to true connection with the people around us – and what a beautiful gift it is!

What are your thoughts on humility and the role that it plays in the lives of Christians today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!