Humility before Honor

Proverbs 15:32–33

IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE is out to serve self, it’s refreshing to read these ancient words from the pen of one of the most powerful men who ever lived: Solomon.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.

PROVERBS 15:32–33

In different words, Jesus says virtually the same thing:

Among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

MATTHEW 20:26–28

Humility makes our message believable. Honest, human, thoughtful, and down to earth. Regardless of your elevated position or high pile of honors or long list of degrees or endless number of achievements, just stay real. Work hard at counteracting the celebrity syndrome. Junk any idea that you deserve special recognition for a job well done. Who did you do it for anyway? If you did it for God, He has an infinite number of unseen ways to reward you. If you did it for man, no wonder you’re seeking the glory! But it’s so subtle. So easy to draw out that praise for yourself, isn’t it? Ye olde ego is a wily one.

That simply means no self-reference to some enviable accomplishment. A refusal to scratch a back when yours itches. The absence of any desire to manipulate and manufacture praise. That means you demonstrate authentic surprise when applauded.

One final warning. Don’t try to fake it. False humility stinks worse than raw conceit. The answer is not in trying to appear worthless and “wormy” but in consistently taking notice of others’ achievements, recognizing others’ skills and contributions . . . and saying so. That’s one way to serve others in love. Just like Christ.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at

Posted in Leadership, Pastors and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.