Humble heartedness

Key Points

  • Humility leads to a healthy self-esteem though understanding our identity in Christ and our place before Father
  • Knowing our identity enables us to joyfully accept the gifts, position and influences that God gives us to serve others in our communities

“This is a superpower that all Christians have – to take something that no one else wants to do, and through Christ, turn it into a beautiful thing. Humble service is the heart of true power.”

Justin Welby

“When you act with presumption, convinced that you’re right, don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face!
But walking in humility helps you to make wise decisions.”

King Solomon: Proverbs 11 v 2 TPT

If you ask my friends who know me, or have known me over the years, I’ve never been someone who by inclination tends towards arrogance. I am more of an introvert than an extravert, tending to be more of a ‘processor’. Having said that I have come to change by experiences in life, in business and through Holy Spirit. I have learned to use accumulated wisdom and insight to be able to make swift decisions when necessary, and I feel comfortable making them. I can recall occasions when important decisions had to be made swiftly in a director’s meeting, or on a phone call with a client. I have learned to be confident in those decisions and not to regret them. When my wife and I had to decide whether to sell our shareholding to the other shareholder/directors in the business, we made that decision within a few hours, but then had the luxury of having a few days to let that decision settle in our hearts before needing to inform the other shareholders what we had decided. We didn’t change our mind, and we haven’t regretted making that decision!

My experiences have taught me that humble heartedness is so important in entrepreneurship if we want to do business well, be able to hold our head high, sleep well at night and extend his Kingdom! I have found that humility helps us to walk with integrity. Through humility I felt that I could maintain good relations with suppliers, clients and staff, and be able to look them in the eye without feeling guilt, shame, or needing to put on a mask to hide my true feelings. I can honestly say that I wanted the best for everyone, for everyone to prosper – even our competitors – not withstanding that I wanted our business also to prosper!

I had to un-learn what I had assumed it meant to be humble hearted, and by a process of re-learning to grasp hold of what I now see as a much more balanced view of humility. I believe humble heartedness encompasses:

  1. having a healthy self-esteem through receiving within ourselves the revelation of who we are in Christ
  2. aligning with God’s purposes, gifts and capabilities that he gives to each one
  3. as leaders/pioneers serving those in our community – whatever this community looks like in practice.

A healthy self-esteem

Walking in humility with God means that we are strong because we joyfully live in healthy self-esteem before the Father

I have written about changing our image of God and ourselves in the post “Laying a good foundation”; what I want to write here is how this impacts our humble-heartedness. I love Bill Johnson’s quote:

“So, few people have what we call a healthy self-esteem in their place before the Father as a son or daughter. So many good people have fallen into this trap of unbelief about their own identity in Him. Tragically, this habit is thought by many to be humility. And any time we give a virtuous name to a defect, we give it a permission to stay and gain influence.”1

We are sons and daughters, we are not worms, failures, unwanted or unworthy. Neither are we arrogant, proud, big-headed, or think that we are God’s answer to humanities issues! No! We are sons and daughters, passionately and intimately loved by each ‘person’ of the Trinity, honoured with his abiding presence, and blessed with gifts that he liberally gives to us in his Body. I also love the counterbalances that King Solomon wrote in Proverbs – surely a man that could claim to be a great success and able to sound off with his own accomplishments!

Let someone else honor you for your accomplishments,
for self-praise is never appropriate. Proverbs 27 v 2 TPT

Lift yourself up with pride and you will soon be brought low, 
but a meek and humble spirit will add to your honor. Proverbs 29 v 23 TPT

Fire is the way to test the purity of silver and gold,
but the character of a man is tested by giving him a measure of fame. Proverbs 27 v 21 TPT

Walking in humility with God means that we are strong because we joyfully live in healthy self-esteem before the Father. I believe that there is a key here in living as the apostle Paul did – doing all things through Christ who strengthens me. In wonderful victories, in the valley of difficulties, and disappointments, all experiences that we are likely to experience in our journey of entrepreneurship, it is essential to our health and wellbeing to know Christ’s strength within us in these seasons. 

Aligning with God’s purposes

“It is safe to say that Heaven has a culture of honour. Under his Lordship, everyone is celebrated for who they are, without anyone stumbling over who they’re not. The commands that God gives us about our relationships here only serve to mirror the reality that already exists in His world”.1

How many of us struggle with gifts, graces, capabilities and competencies that God gives us because we’d rather be like someone else that we look up to and honour? We need to start stop resenting the person that God has gifted us to be. We can’t be the person that we aspire to be without great stress and toil, and we will be missing the best that God has for us. Each of us is unique. Let’s be authentic and love the life that we lead!

Humility is, I believe, to live joyfully accepting the gifts, position and influences that God has given to us. We read that God opposes the proud but gives grace and favour to the humble (James 4 v 6). How we need God’s grace! We need to receive his grace day by day, on a continual on-going basis. Grace empowers us to use the gifts that God has given us. Grace empowers our faith, and God’s favour partners his grace. And how we also need his favour! His favour advances us and promotes us. So many times, I saw his favour do this for me. It had little to do with my own efforts or endeavours. It had so much more to do with walking intimately with God, keeping humility, and walking in obedience.

Another important lesson I learned is that not all opportunities that are presented to us come from God

There was a particular season for me when so many opportunities came to me that they threatened to cause the business to be swamped. Here was another important lesson I learned; that it can be a mistake to assume that his favour means that all opportunities that are presented to us come from God. We need to be vigilant. The devil can attempt to wear us down, and those in our businesses, to make us vulnerable to his schemes and attacks. We need to learn what are those opportunities that God presents to us and those that are not for us. Then we need grace and humility to leave alone those that are not for us. I found that the best place to weigh this was by walking in his presence, putting them on the scales of his word and promises, checking our hearts to see if the opportunity disrupts our peace, and whether it flows with the prophecies that have been spoken over us.

I remember a specific occasion in August 2010 when God clearly spoke to me and promised me opportunities that would come my way and were for me. A month earlier my wife and I had sold our shares in our previous business and I had left that business. It was necessary to continue as a sole trader for a period of time as we needed the income. I had been praying about this and asking God to provide me with additional work and income. Early in the month I was taking the opportunity to have a workout in the gym of which I had membership. I was on the treadmill and I was playing worship music on my iPhone. Suddenly I heard Holy spirit say to me “Watch what I do!”. Although there were other transitional moves that we were praying about at the time and to which I needed to respond, I knew that this word to me was primarily for business. I also sensed that this was a ‘very soon’ word. Exactly one week later I took a call from someone with whom I had had a telephone conversation asking me to work with them on a project that they had won in a tender bid. I had to make quick decisions and also arrange a meeting with them in London. Within another week we had agreed the contract and I had begun the work. This gave us a fantastic footing for the first three months of trading in my new Company. This is the favour of God!

Serving our community

Sharing God’s favour is a great way for people around us to encounter God’s goodness

My experience has been that favour is contagious! As we receive God’s favour then those around us come into his favour with us. We see this in Joseph’s life. Here was a man upon whom rested God’s favour. He had been tested in the fire of rejection, disappointment and isolation. Yet I believe that he kept hold of the promises of God and never lost hope. In an act of extreme favour God promoted him from the prison to the palace in a single day! We read in Genesis 46 v 31-34:

“Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, ‘I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, “My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.” When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, “What is your occupation?” you should answer, “Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.” Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.’ “(NIV)

Jacob and Joseph’s brothers were shepherds and had been all of their lives. They had brought with them to Egypt their flocks – some undertaking I would imagine. This was an occupation that was detested in Egypt. Not a vocation that was suggested at a career’s forum! And despite this, because of Joseph’s standing in the nation all of his family and flocks were allowed to settle in Rameses in Goshen, which was the best part of the land. Sharing God’s favour is a great way for people around us to encounter God’s goodness.

Humility and favour are some solid anchors in our entrepreneurship. They help to keep us in a healthy place of reliance on God’s goodness and grace.

Humility means that in the security of our identity we become those who wash other people’s feet

His favour is not given to us to selfishly keep it to ourselves, it is given to us to also bless others. For me, Kingdom entrepreneurship carries with it leadership that brings others into God’s favour, encountering his goodness and opening the door for them to know Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit for themselves. This leadership is about serving others and caring for their needs. As Justin Welby says:

“In the same way as the three persons of the Trinity serve and love each other, so leadership is about service and love, not to win loyalty, respect and favour, but for its own sake, as an absolute good.”2

Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord
will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.

Proverbs 22 v 4 TPT

Humility does not mean that we become doormats for people to walk over and wipe their dirt on. No! Humility means that in the security of our identity in Christ we become those who wash other people’s feet. This does not demean us or belittle us; it promotes us. Neither does humility mean that we empty ourselves of power; it means that we know how to use power and favour righteously for the blessing of others as well as ourselves.

  1. Johnson, Bill; The Way of Life. Destiny Image Publisher Inc. 2008. ISBN 12: 978-0-7684-4274-8.
  2. Welby, Justin. Dethroning Mammon – making money serve grace. Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016. ISBN 978-4729-2977-8.