A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Proverbs 29:23
Question: How may a Christian know that he is humble and consequently godly?
A humble soul is emptied of all swelling thoughts of himself. He has lower thoughts of himself than others can have of him. David, though a king, still looked upon himself as a worm: ‘I am a worm, and no man.’
A humble soul thinks better of others than of himself, and values others at a higher rate than himself. This is because he can see his own heart better than he can see another’s. He sees his own corruption and thinks that surely it is not so with others; their graces are not so weak as his; their corruptions not so strong. ‘Surely,’ he thinks, ‘they have better hearts than I.’ A humble Christian studies his own infirmities and another’s excellences, and this makes him put a higher value upon others.
A humble person bemoans not only his sins, but also his duties. When he has prayed and wept, ‘Alas,’ he says, ‘how little I have done! God might damn me for all this.’ He says, like good Nehemiah, ‘Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me.’
A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed so that God’s glory may be increased. He is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter. This is the humble man’s motto: ‘Let me decrease; let Christ increase.’ A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory.
A humble saint likes that condition which God sees best for him. A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much. When the heart lies low, it can stoop to a low condition. A Christian looking at his sins wonders that it is no worse with him. He does not say his mercies are small, but that his sins are great. He knows that the worst piece God carves him is better than he deserves. Therefore, he takes it thankfully upon his knees.
– Thomas Watson
Excerpt from the “The Godly Man’s Picture”