Leadership through the Lens of Humility

Lens of Humility

A Builder’s Foundation

The leadership lens has grown in focus through laying a foundation of humility. As we try to understand our leadership foundation, let us look at preparing a building site. When preparing land for a new building, the builder will lay a good foundation on which to build his structure.

“A foundation is the lowest part of a structure that has to be created to provide stability. The foundation provides direct contact with the ground and transfers the weight of the structure itself to the soil below to provide a firm, stable structure.”1

Through the lens of a builder, a single story extends a footer a minimum of twelve inches below the frost line2 while a skyscraper extends its foundation to an incredible depth. The Empire State building in Manhattan, New York, has a foundation of 55 feet 8 inches with 210 pillars.3 The building with the deepest foundation in the world is the Twin Towers of Malaysia in Kaula-Lampur with a foundation of 400 feet.4


How The Leadership Lens Affects The Foundation

When we look at leadership through the lens of humility, we discover the depth of our foundation.

If we have a shallow foundation of humility, then we are more likely to take credit when things go well and pass the blame when things go awry. The lens clarifies our focus is on ourselves.

If we have a deep foundation of humility, then we give the glory to God when things go well, and ask Him for wisdom when things go awry because we are dependent on Him. The lens clarifies the focus is on Jesus.

“A shallow foundation of humility leads us to be self-focused while a deep foundation of humility leads us to be Jesus-focused.” ~Lisa Blair

Jesus Christ the Chief Cornerstone
Jesus Christ the Chief Cornerstone

A Christian Leaders Building

God is our Builder.

“For [of course] every house is built and furnished by someone, but the Builder of all things and the Furnisher [of all things] is God.” ~Hebrews 3:4 AMPC

We are living stones in His house with Jesus Christ as the chief Cornerstone.

“Come to Him [the risen Lord] as to a living Stone which men rejected and threw away, but which is choice and precious in the sight of God. You [believers], like living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house for a holy and dedicated priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.” ~1 Peter 2:4-5 AMP

“This [Jesus] is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone].” Acts 4:11 AMPC

“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone. In Him, the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously, and it continues to rise (grow, increase) into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, consecrated, and sacred to the presence of the Lord]. In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit.” ~Ephesians 2:20-22 AMPC


The Lens of Humility Brings Focus on Leadership’s Foundation

In The Blessing of Humility, Jerry Bridges states, “The character trait of humility is the second-most frequently taught trait in the New Testament, second only to love. All other character traits are built upon love and humility.”

In the natural realm, builders determine the depth of the foundation based on “site-specific information typically determined by the soil type and the extent to which you must dig before striking undisturbed soil.”5 In our spiritual building, we build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 3:9-11 NASB

Fruit of the Spirit
Fruit of the Spirit

And the quality of our building materials affects the quality of our building.

“But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble, each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. If any man’s work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.” ~1 Corinthians 3:12-15 WEB

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” ~Matthew 7:24-27 NASB

Humility with Wisdom
Humility with Wisdom

Let us be truthful with ourselves as we examine the foundation of our faith and the quality of our building material. Let us choose to:

  • Live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. ~Ephesians 4:1-2 AMP
  • Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:3 NASB
  • Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. ~Colossians 3:12 WEB
  • And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. ~1 Peter 5:5b NASB


God Is All
God Is All

Let us allow the Master Builder to lay a firm foundation with Jesus Christ, and through the power of His Holy Spirit, let Him use us as living stones to build His living house to bring glory to His Name.

“So we need God’s grace—that is, His Spirit-supplied enablement—to clothe ourselves with an attitude of humility as we encounter different people and different situations throughout the day. And God promises us He will supply that grace, as we seek to walk in humility.”6


Humility is the Foundation of Leadership – Knowing Our Identity is Crucial – Strength with Dignity

Genuine Humility Provides Hope Inspired Leadership – Strength with Dignity


1 Forestell, Tim. Shallow Foundation Explained. Published by DOZR on December 14, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from Shallow Foundations Explained – What They Are & Why We Use them | DOZR

2 What is the Ideal Depth of Foundations for my Single Storey Extension? Written by Heather. Published by RESI on March 24, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from What is the ideal depth of foundations for my single storey extension?  | RESI

3 Empire State Building: Interesting Facts about New York’s Skyscraper. Published by We Build Value on October 14, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from Empire State Building: history, facts and figures – We Build Value

4 Yadev, Lochan. Which Building Has the World’s Deepest Foundations? Published by Structures Insider on June 23, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from Which building has the world’s deepest foundations? (structuresinsider.com)

5 Heather/RESI.

6 Bridges, Jerry. The Blessing of Humility. Published by NavPress, 2016.

Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Amplified Bible, Classis Edition (AMPC) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.

New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

World English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.

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10 thoughts on “Leadership through the Lens of Humility”

  1. Lisa, excellent thoughts here on leadership. Humility is the core value from which we lead others. Sourced in God’s grace, it enables us to lead empowered by God rather than fueled by our own agenda.

  2. This blog post provides insightful analogies between physical building foundations and the foundations of leadership, specifically through the lens of humility. Thank you so much. Unfortunately, in my small Baptist Church, things went wrong because the elders gained/took too much power. As a result, people were disciplined for expressing biblical criticism about a disciplinary case. Now our church has been divided. I think it was because they did not act with humility and love.

    Question: In what ways can a leader who may struggle with humility begin to cultivate this quality, and what benefits may they experience in their leadership as a result?

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties your church experienced, Aritha. I believe this article answers your questions: https://strengthwithdignity.com/humility-provides-hope-inspired-leadership/
      #1 How do we humble ourselves? We acknowledge the reality that we are not God.
      How do we cultivate humility? We can cultivate humility by “humbling ourselves under the authority of God’s Word, by obeying His words, and by coming desperately to Him in prayer and in fasting.”
      #2 What is the power of humility? The power of humility is recognizing we are nothing in and of ourselves.
      How do we cultivate humility? We acknowledge we are nothing in and of ourselves except by the grace of God and we walk in the healthy fear of God.
      The benefit of walking in humility is the desire to follow God, point others to God, and assist others as they follow God (instead of pointing to themselves and demanding people follow them).

  3. I can truly say Amen to all you have written. Humility is so important in our lives, and kindness brings happiness to the ones who give it. In Jesus we have peace. God bless you for sharing.

  4. Humility is so huge when it comes to leadership (and followship as well). With Jesus leading the way as the ultimate example of humility, you’d think we’d more easily recognize the importance of humility. But too often the human thirst for power and pride overrides humility. I had an opportunity yesterday to practice humility again in a painful way; it’s rarely easy! 🙂

    1. Humble circumstances are trying to our soul, Lisa, but we’re thankful for the fruit of the crucifixion of our flesh when the Spirit of God brings resurrection glory on the other side!

  5. Lisa, humility must be one of the most important character traits and mindsets to have in the Christian walk, and even more so in Christian leadership. You share great insights here. I never realized just how deep some buildings’ foundations go! What a beautiful picture of how our foundations in Jesus should be deep.

    1. Humility is vital to our faith, Jeanne, and I found it interesting to learn that the depth of the foundation’s footings depended on the type of soil the building was being built upon which encourages us to be good soil.

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