August 21, 2023

Humility and Honesty

Written by Boyd Bailey

Honesty is a natural outcome of humility. To be honest with myself is knowing that I am not the center of the universe.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 21, 2023

Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me? Genesis 27:36

Jacob was Abraham’s grandson, who, like his grandfather, had to learn some hard lessons about honesty and depending on God instead of orchestrating circumstances to circumvent the Lord’s will. Like a shady businessman, Jacob deceived his brother Esau by taking advantage of him in a weak, vulnerable moment, stealing his birthright. But in the process, Jacob was deceived by his mom and later by his uncle Laban. Being a momma’s boy, she used Jacob to get her way and miss God’s best. Their deceitful charade launched Jacob from home in a self-inflicted exile with Laban, who in turn tricked Jacob into marrying both of his daughters, Leah and Rachel. In return for their marriage, Jacob was manipulated by his uncle to work twice as long. Finally, an angel of the Lord wrestled with Jacob all night and lamed him, so now physically humbled, he learned to walk (limp!) with God. Jacob’s dishonesty required his humbling to heal his heart.

J.I. Packer describes how Jacob was finally humbled by God, “There was no particle of self-reliance left in Jacob by the time God had finished with him. The nature of Jacob’s prevailing with God (Genesis 32:8) was simply that he had held on to God while God weakened him and wrought in him the spirit of submission and self-distrust; that he had desired God’s blessing so much that he clung to God through all this painful humbling, till he came low enough for God to raise him up by speaking peace to him and assuring him that he need not fear about Esau any more…God had won his battle with Jacob, and won it for good. Jacob never lapsed back into his old ways. Limping Jacob had learned his lesson. The wisdom of God had done its work.”

Honesty is a natural outcome of humility. To be honest with myself that I am not the center of the universe…that high and lofty role is reserved for God Almighty only. To be honest with myself about my limitations…I can’t do everythingI can’t help everyone…but I can trust the Lord to help me become the best version of His beloved son. Honesty with ourselves is learning to live and be responsible for the mundane at the moment and not obsess over some ego-driven unrealistic expectations somewhere out there in the future. Yes, with brute force, we can make things happen in unhealthy ways that only hurt us and those around us. Humility is honest by being vulnerable and accessible. Vulnerable to confessing blind spots and accessible to feedback. 

Research of team members in the work environment has been consistent over the last several decades; leaders who are honest, not surprisingly, enjoy a high trust level and experience peak performance from their teams. When you respect those around you by being honest about how well they are doing and how they can grow better, they feel valued and empowered. Humility goes on to invite accountability from the team or at home from the family. Leaders have a tendency to run ahead of the capacity of the team, so staying true to the collaborative plan keeps everyone focused, competent, and committed. And at home, have the humility to say out loud when you are wrong. “I’m sorry I lost my temper. Will you forgive me?” “I forgot what I said I would do. Please forgive me.” “You were right. Forgive me for not listening to your advice.” Honesty about your faults, struggles, and fears goes a long way to growing a healthy culture at work and home. Team members and families learn how to flourish in humble and honest spaces.


Heavenly Father, grow my humble heart to express itself in an honest assessment of myself through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.


What area of your life needs you to take a hard look and for you to be honest about your limitations?

Related Reading

Psalm 25:9; Matthew 7:1-5; Philippians 2:1-4; Galatians 6:1

Worship Resource

Hillsong Worship: From Whom All Blessings Flow (Doxology)


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