It’s virtually impossible to internalize true humility unless it has been personally experienced, and in many cases experienced repeatedly. In Acts 9, Paul (Saul) got his first real taste of humility when he was on the road to Damascus with prescribed orders to arrest any Christians found there. Just then Jesus appeared to Paul in a surrounding light, asking Paul why he was persecuting Jesus. Paul reversed course and became a new man, a baptized Christian, and filled with the Holy Spirit. How many of us are still on our own personal “road to Damascus”, believing we are carrying out prescribed orders?
Soon after moving to Oregon nearly 40 years ago, I asked the Lord in prayer to teach/show me true humility. Shortly after, I contracted life-threatening tongue cancer; the “cure” included cooking my mouth and face with high intensity X-ray radiation, to be followed by numerous surgeries across the years to try to save my life. I had thought I was on the right spiritual track back 40 years ago, so it was a total shock to experience the hard realities of tongue cancer, but I also personally experienced true humility… and what it means to follow Jesus when all I could see was unspeakable suffering and an untimely death.
True humility isn’t all about horrid trials or being embarrassed or ashamed when we are caught red-handed or doing something stupid. True humility is an open door to a change of heart, a reversal in how you view yourself and others, and even bring a change in world view. That’s what happened to Paul with Jesus on the road to Damascus! Through the experience of true humility we see that everyone else is just as loved by God as we are (Romans 5: 6-8). True humility demonstrates that there is a way that seems right to a man, but that way leads to death (Proverbs 14: 12). True humility puts us constantly at the foot of the cross, looking up to our savior and Lord (Philippians 2: 8). True humility also means that we actually forgive others for all that they’ve done to us…because God forgives us just as we forgive them (Matthew 6: 12).
Lastly, true humility will squeeze out harmful pride and selfishness, replacing that with selflessness and an open door for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. So yes, humility is really that important!! Is it something you need to try hard to experience? No, it’s just the opposite… your part in this (or any other battle) is to trust Jesus to take control of all aspects of your life, and be patient to let Him be the one to finish the work that He has already started in you!!