There are many reasons why we need humility but how do we have humility? This list gives ten ways in which we can develop sincere humility.
1. Become as a Little Child
One of the most important ways we can have humility was taught by Jesus Christ:
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them(Photo by: Andreas F. Borchert, GFDL of a 19th-century stained glass window in St. Canice's cathedral, depicting Christ with a little child.)
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 18:2-4).
2. Humility is a ChoiceWhether we have pride or humility, it is an individual choice that we make. One example in the Bible is of Pharoah, who chose to be prideful.
"And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?" (Exodus 10:3).The Lord has given us agency and he will not take it away- even to make us humble. Although we can be compelled to be humble (see #4 below) actually being humble (or not) will always be a choice that we must make.
3. Humility through Atonement of ChristThe atonement of Jesus Christ is the ultimate way in which we must receive the blessing of humility. It is through His sacrifice that we are able to overcome our natural, fallen state, as taught in The Book of Mormon:
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19).Without Christ it would be impossible for us to have humility.
4. Compelled to Be HumbleThe Lord often allows trials and suffering to enter our lives to compel us to be humble, like with the children of Israel:
"And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no" (Deut 8:2).But it is better for us to choose humility instead of being forced to give up our pride:
"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God... yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe" (Alma 32:16).Which would you prefer?
5. Humility through Prayer and FaithWe can ask God for humility through the prayer of faith.
"And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God... even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come..." (Mosiah 4:11).Praying to our Father in Heaven is also an act of humility as we kneel and subject ourselves to His will.
6. Humility from FastingFasting is an excellent way to build humility. Giving up our physical need for sustenance can direct us to be more spiritual if we focus on our humility and not on the fact that we're hungry.
"But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom" (Psalms 35:13).Fasting may seem difficult, but that's what makes it such a powerful tool. Donating money (equivalent to the food you would have eaten) to the poor and needy, is called a fast offering (see the law of tithing) and is an act of humility.
7. Humility: Fruit of the SpiritHumility also comes through the power of the Holy Ghost. As taught in Galatians 5:22-23, three of the "fruits" are all a part of humility:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Part of the process for seeking the guiding influence of the Holy Ghost is developing sincere humility. If you're having trouble being humble you can choose to be longsuffering with someone that frequently tries your patience. If you fail, try, try, try again!
"Meekness, temperance..." (emphasis added).
8. Count Your BlessingsThis is such a simple, yet effective technique. As we take time to count each of our blessings we will become more aware of all that God has done for us. This awareness alone helps us be more humble. Counting our blessings will also help us recognize how dependent we are upon our Father.
One way to do this is to set aside a specific amount of time (maybe 30 minutes) and write out a list of all your blessings. If you get stuck be more specific, detailing each of your blessings. Another technique is to count your blessings every day, such as in the morning when you first get up, or at night. Before you sleep think of all the blessings you received that day. You'll be surprised at how focusing on having a thankful heart will help lower pride.
9. Stop Comparing Yourself to OthersC. S. Lewis said:
"Pride leads to every other vice.... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, cleverer, or better-looking than others. If every one else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone" (Mere Christianity, (HarperCollins Ed 2001), 122).To have humility we must stop comparing ourselves to others, as it is impossible to be humble while putting oneself above another.
10. Weaknesses Develop HumilityJust as "weaknesses become strengths" is one of the reasons why we need humility it is also one of the ways in which we can develop humility.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27).Weaknesses sure aren't fun, but the Lord allows us to suffer, and humble us, that we may become strong.
Like most things, developing humility is a process, but as we use the tools of fasting, prayer, and faith we will find peace as we choose to humble ourselves through Christ's atonement.