I think that what we have come to call humility in the church has almost no relationship to the virtue humility as taught in the scriptures.
The humility we have adopted these days is all worry about its appearance before men. No one is more concerned about his appearance today than a man attempting to be humble. Recall Christ’s condemnation of virtues that go about worrying about what others think of them. True virtues are rewarded by the Father who seeth in secret. Our modern humility is defined by sounding a trump before you to ensure others know how humble you are. You must offer the right self effacing words.
If being self effacing is not humility what is?
Humility is laid out for us in Mosiah 3:19. A humble man is one who submits to all things that his father sees fit to inflict upon him. That is the key, be it trials, be it commandments, be it punishments and divine retribution. A humble man is one who knows for a truth in his heart that he does not deserve better than what God has seen fit to bestow, be it blessings, trials, commandments or punishments.
When Job said “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” that was a statement of profound humility. Note that Job insisted he had done no wrong and he had not offended God, which is contrary to our modern notion of humility. But Job had real humility, not an outward facade, and knew in his heart by the holy Ghost that he deserved no more than God had seen fit to bestow, even if God bestowed nothing at all.
One critical aspect of humility is obedience. If we are not strictly obedient, we are not humble. I think our obsequeous displays of humility come about partly to substitute for this real aspect of humility. We don’t want to strictly obey, which would be true humility.
What does it mean to say we are humble, but to not obey? Is disobedience not exalting ourself out of our place?
If we want to be humble, then let us faithfully endure whatsoever the father sees fit to influct upon us, be it trials, be it punishment, or be it commandments.