Humility is submissiveness to the will of God. It is meekness and lowliness of heart.
- To be humble is to recognize gratefully our dependence on the Lord—to understand that we have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that our talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that we know where our true strength lies. We can be both humble and fearless. We can be both humble and courageous. Jesus Christ is our greatest example of humility. During His mortal ministry, He always acknowledged that His strength came because of His dependence on His Father. He said: "I can of mine own self do nothing. . . . I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30) .
In Mosiah 3:19, it says:
- For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
The Nature of Pride
The Book of Mormon is a record of "a fallen people" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:9). It is a record of groups of people who at turns were humble and repentant, and then prideful. Eventually, they became so prideful, that they completely turned away from God, refused to repent, and lived only to destroy one another—"Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come" (Helaman 16:22).
- Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.” As Paul said, they “seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Philippians 2:21).
- Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled. (See Alma 38:12; 3 Nephi 12:30.) The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. (See Helaman 12:6.) They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works. Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.
- Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them. (See Helaman 6:17; Doctrine and Covenants 58:41.) (Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4.)
When People are Humble, Peace Reigns
The Savior visited the Book of Mormon peoples shortly after His resurrection. There had been a great destruction, and the more wicked part of the population had perished. He gathered the righteous remnant to Him and taught them "the peaceable things of the kingdom." The people then lived in righteousness and peace for nearly four generations, until they again began to be lifted up in pride. The success of that peaceful society, and the happiness of its citizens is a light to all:
- “There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Nephi 1:15; see also 4 Nephi 1:2; italics added.)
- And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift (4 Nephi 1:3).
- And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus (4 Nephi 1:5).
- And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
- There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
- And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered (4 Nephi 1:16-18).