Descending To Greatness (Part 1): Seeing Clearly

#1 Watch or Listen To "Descending To Greatness (Part 1): Seeing Clearly"

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here:

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]:

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?


#2 Defining Terms

On Sunday we said humility is 1. More important than you realize (and) 2. Not what you think it is.

So, 1. Why is humility so important? (and) 2. What is it?

  • As you define it together, don't simply recall the definition we received in the sermon. Offer your own words and examples. What does humility look like? How does it act? What does it say?
  • Does the fact that Jesus was humble complicate (or clarify) your understanding of humility? What does it mean that Jesus was humble?

Let's look closely for a second at the definition from the sermon:

"Humility is seeing yourself clearly as you stand under God and alongside others."

  • Practically speaking, how do we place ourselves "under God"? What habits and practices remind us of and reinforce our position in regard to God?
  • Practically speaking, how do we place ourselves "alongside others." What habits and practices remind us of and reinforce our position in regard to other people?

Confucius is supposed to have said, "Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues."

  • Is that true? Why or why not?
  • Can a proud person be virtuous? (full of grace, loving, courageous, faith-full, etc.)


#3 Team Player

In a recent interview, (Super Bowl-winning coach) Tony Dungy proposed that humility is the single most important characteristic of a leader. Referring to a coach he admires Dungy said, "He wanted the team to do as well as it could do." Dungy said the win for the team always mattered more than personal glory.

Look again at Romans 12: 3-5, one of our texts from Sunday. Read it together.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

  • How are humility and team work related?
  • What happens when one person on a team isn't humble?
  • Why do you think humility is so powerful in terms of belonging? If humility enables belonging and cooperation, what does pride result in?

Think of a time when your pride stood in the way of you connecting to a group of people. Share.


#4 Get Some Perspective

WATCH THIS video from Carl Sagan on the universe and humility (

How do you feel after watching it?

Sagan said, "We have not been given the lead in the cosmic drama."

  • Is he right?
  • If so, who is the lead?
  • Why is it so important to understand our size and place?


#5 Diagnosis

Consider the following "fruits of pride." Read them out loud and evaluate your heart to determine whether or not you need a humility check. After considering the list, share any fruits that hit home. Pray for growing humility.


1. I tend to be self sufficient in the way I live my life. I tend to think I have enough strength, ability

and wisdom to live and manage my life.

2. My practice of the spiritual disciplines in inconsistent and superficial.

3. I don’t like to ask others for help.

4. I am overly self-conscious. I tend to replay in my mind how I did, what I said, how I am

coming across to others, etc. I am very concerned about what people think of me.

5. I often feel insecure. I don't want to try new things or step out into uncomfortable situations

because I'm afraid I'll fail or look foolish. I am easily embarrassed.

6. I am performance oriented. I feel that I have greater worth if I do well.

7. I am self-critical. I tend to be a perfectionist. I can't stand for little things to be wrong because

they reflect poorly on me.

8. I desire to receive credit and recognition for what I do. I want people to be impressed with me. I like to make my accomplishments known.

9. I find myself hiding the truth about myself, especially about sins, weaknesses, etc. I don't want people

to know who I really am.

10. I am selfishly ambitious. I really want to get ahead. I like having a position or title.

11. I far prefer leading to following.

12. I am overly competitive. I always want to win or come out on top and it bothers me when I


13. I like to be the center of attention and will say or do things to draw attention to myself.

14. I like to talk, especially about myself or persons or things I am involved with. I want people to

know what I am doing or thinking. I would rather speak than listen.

15. I am self-serving. When asked to do something, I find myself asking, "What's in it for me, or

how will doing this help me, or will I be inconvenienced?"

16. I am not very excited about seeing or making others successful. I tend to feel envious, jealous

or critical towards those who are doing well or being honored.

17. I feel generally special or superior because of what I have or do. For example:

  • my house
  • my neighborhood
  • my physical giftings
  • my spiritual giftings
  • my intellect or education
  • being “spiritual”
  • my position or job
  • my car
  • my salary
  • my looks

18. I think highly of myself. In relation to others I typically see myself as more mature and more

gifted. In most situations, I have more to offer than others even though I may not say so. I don’t

consider myself average or ordinary.

19. I tend to give myself credit for who I am and what I accomplish. I only occasionally think

about or recognize that all that I am or have comes from God.

20. I feel deserving. I think I deserve what I have. In fact, I think I ought to have more

considering how well I have lived or in light of all I have done.

21. I often feel ungrateful. I tend to grumble about what I have or my lot in life.

22. I am pretty insensitive to others. I feel that some people just aren't worth caring about. I have

a hard time showing compassion.

23. I have a know-it-all attitude. I am impressed by my own knowledge. I feel like there isn't

much I can learn from other people, especially those less mature than me.

24. I don’t honestly listen when someone else is speaking because I am usually planning what I am going to say next.

25. I like to reveal my own mind. I have an answer for practically every situation. I feel compelled to balance everyone else out.

26. I interrupt people regularly. I don’t let people finish what they are saying.

27. I feel compelled to stop people when they start to share something with me I already know.

28. I find it hard to admit it when I don’t know something. When someone asks me something I

don't know, I will make up an answer rather than admit I don't know.

29. I listen to teaching with other people in mind. I constantly think of those folks who need to

hear the teaching and wish they were here.

30. I'm not very open to input. I don’t pursue correction for my life. I tend to be unteachable and

slow to repent when corrected. I don't really see correction as a positive thing. I am offended

when people probe the motivations of my heart or seek to adjust me.

31. I have a hard time admitting that I am wrong. I find myself covering up or excusing my

defects. It is hard for me to confess my wrongs to others or to ask for forgiveness.

32. When corrected, I become contentious and argumentative.