7 Steps to Growing a More Humble Heart

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). 

I don’t think of myself as a selfish or conceited person. I’d venture to guess many of us don’t.

Yet the Apostle Paul felt the need to warn about the temptation in his letter to the Philippians. And for good reason.

selfish to humble in Christ

Selfish Streak Alive and Well

The more I reflect on my daily actions, the more clearly I can see a selfish streak alive and well in my own heart.

Like when I expect online stores to have the exact item I need, when I need it, in the exact quantities needed, and at a price I find reasonable. As if they’d know and provide for my desires above all the others!

Like when I snap at my kids when they want my attention or need correction.

Like when my weariness makes me blind to the weariness of those around me.

Like when I see the faults of everyone else but somehow miss my own.

Satan wages a war of selfishness in my heart and in yours. And you can bet he wants to win!

So what’s a girl (or guy) to do? 

7 Steps to Growing a More Humble Heart

First, be certain there is hope, always hope. Satan holds no power over Jesus Christ. Christ in us will be victorious over the enemy. 

Satan wages a war of selfishness in my heart and in yours, but Christ in us will be victorious over the enemy! Click To Tweet

Second, acknowledge you are a selfish human being. We all are to some degree. A critical step in healing is identifying the problem.

Third, be honest with yourself about the extent and danger of the problem and repent. Selfishness (as real as it is) has no place in the Kingdom of God.

Fourth, ask the Holy Spirit to intervene when you begin to let your selfishness exercise itself. Again awareness is huge!

Fifth, pray for discernment and strength to combat this tool in Satan’s tool chest.

Sixth, practice thinking of others before yourself. I was thinking about this step and realized that I actually force my thoughts off myself and my wants and needs and place them on those around me. That means I’m making progress, I think. 

Seventh, check yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself the simple question of who you’re serving, yourself or God and those around you.

Selfishness wants to win the battle of the heart. Yet by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the practice of selfless service, we can do better at guarding it and living a life of humility.

By the power of the Holy Spirit & through the spiritual discipline of service, we can grow a more humble heart. Click To Tweet

Which, in turn, brings us into closer fellowship with God. 

Care to pray with me? 

Dear God,

The enemy likes nothing better than to get our eyes focused on self.

He wants to see us living selfish and conceited lives. And he’s clever, Lord … oh so sneaky!

He makes me think I deserve to be first. He encourages me to look to my own desires before those of others.

But Jesus showed us how to really live. He demonstrated a life of selfless service. He taught that it will be the least who will be the greatest.

Lord, protect my heart from the arrows of the devil. “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” (Psalm 119:36).

Help me to consider others before myself. Help me to serve You by serving them.

Grow in me, Lord, a desire to serve selflessly … to have a heart of humility.

In Jesus’ name and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen! 

from selfish to humble - a prayer

“whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:27-28

Reflections: Which of the above steps do you struggle with the most? Which of the steps are you becoming proficient at? 

Going on 5 years of counting and I’m nearing 5,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #5063–5083. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Successful first day of Vacation Bible School; Wonderful metaphor/insight by a young man in ‪#‎VBS‬; Hearing that my advice has helped a young lady in her job search
  • Perfectly gorgeous early summer day; The amount of online Bible teaching tools and resources: Ending the night with “I love yous” all around
  • New faces at Vacation Bible School (‪#‎VBS‬); Seeking and finding grace in the crazy dance of parenthood; Finally ending a long day early
  • Another great lesson and ‪#‎VBS‬ session;Walk with my hubby and daughter; Unique sights, sounds and experiences of living on a lake
  • Wrapped up an amazing week of ‪#‎VBS‬; Found some very important lost music; Crazy interaction between Zach and Rach on our evening walk
  • Full day of parade and swimming fun for Rachel; Afternoon spent with Zach and Mom; Boys making the most of their short time together in boy fashions
  • Surprise celebration for our pastor at the 25th anniversary of his ordination; Danny & Joey willing to share their music talents in church w/ a trumpet duet; Worshiping & eating dinner w/ a dear friend

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “7 Steps to Growing a More Humble Heart
  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    Julie: Thank you for these thoughts. This is a timely message for me. Did you know that “Humble” is my word for this year?

  2. Julie Sunne says:

    I did not know that, Cecelia. It’s a good word for each of us. I’m glad this post encouraged you.

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