When we think about what it looks like to live as a Christian, we often forget many of the inner heart virtues that lead to the outward behaviors that would make our list. In the Beatitudes, which describe the character of the person who is a citizen of God’s kingdom, Jesus starts with humility. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. While we focus on everything a Christian does, Jesus says that our growth as Christians starts with who we are.
Humility, which is the poverty of spirit Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:3, serves as the root of our growth as believers. We cannot make any spiritual progress until we truly understand who we are in light of who God is. Seeing God in his holiness and ourselves as sinners in need of grace is critical for growing in our relationship with the Lord and growing in how we treat other people.
Humility does not come easily. Our flesh yearns for the self-assurance that comes from pride, the world tells us to assert ourselves and put ourselves first, and the enemy of our souls wants nothing more than for us to be mired in pride and arrogance.