Here’s a FREE youth group lesson on humility, based on Matthew 26:36-39 and Philippians 2:5-8.

The Big Idea: Humility means trusting God more than you trust yourself.

Enjoy the lesson!

-Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON HUMILITY

Bible: Matthew 26:36-39, Philippians 2:5-8 

Bottom Line: Humility means trusting God more than you trust yourself.

OPENING GAME – YOU DECIDE

Supplies:

  • Random small items you can put on the floor for a makeshift obstacle course – something like Legos that will hurt but not break if stepped on 
  • Four blindfolds
  • Four pairs of cheap, thick socks – if you buy fun, colorful socks, you can give them away to the participants

Setup: 

Set up an area of your meeting space as an obstacle course by placing chairs in random spots and filling the floor with small items to make it difficult to navigate. Make sure you have a clear starting line and ending line.

How to Play the Game: 

Say: 

  • What’s up everybody?
  • Today we are going to play a game called “You Decide”!
  • I need four pairs of volunteers, so pick someone you trust and raise your hand if you want to volunteer.

[Pick four pairs, giving each a pair of socks and a blindfold, then continue.]

  • One of you needs to take off your shoes and put on a pair of these snazzy socks. Once you get the socks on, put on the equally snazzy blindfold. 
  • The other needs to walk over and study the obstacle course, because we are going to have a race to see who can navigate the path without bumping into or stepping on anything. 
  • Your blindfolded partner will walk the course, and you will be right behind them, telling them what to do.
  • As the seeing partner, “You Decide” what your partner should do, and they have to decide if they will listen to you or not.
  • The only rule is, you cannot touch them, guide them, push them, pull them, etc., but you can yell as loud as you need to to get them to hear you.
  • If they bump into or step on anything, you both must count to five-Mississippi before continuing.
  • The first pair to successfully navigate the obstacle course wins a snazzy prize. 
  • Your partner is blindfolded, so go help them get to your starting position, then I will say go. 

[Wait until all groups are lined up and ready.]

  • Ready, set, go!

TEACH

Get with a group of two or three, and answer the question, “When have you had to do something you didn’t really want to do, and once it was over, you realized it was a good idea after all?”

For example, going to the dentist is not fun, but it’s a good idea, because you don’t want to have to give up eating meat because you no longer have teeth. 

I’ll give you two minutes to discuss … ready, set, go!

[Give a 30-second warning before you wrap things up, then allow students to share answers as time allows.]

Thanks for playing along everyone. 

Anytime we do something we don’t want to do, especially when we do it because it’s important to someone else, it requires humility. 

Humility is an interesting word. Most of us understand what it means, but it’s hard to explain.

Most of us can see when someone is or isn’t humble, but it’s a challenge to come up with a good definition.

If you were taking a pop quiz in English, and your teacher asked you to define humility, what would you write?

[Interact with student answers. Landing on the exact definition is not important. The conversation will likely reveal how rich of a topic humility is.]

Those are some great thoughts and insights. Give the people around you a high five and tell them, “You’re brilliant … and humble!”

If you do a Google search for humility, you will find a definition like this: “A modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”

If you scroll down the search page, you will find another definition: “Freedom from pride or arrogance.”

If you keep scrolling, you might find a definition of godly humility that says something like this: “Getting your confidence from God, who loves and values you more than you do yourself.”

The truth is, pretty much everything you guys said in our discussion on humility is correct.

And all of these Google definitions make sense, though I think the last one captures best what I believe humility means. 

I think humility is having a healthy perspective on who God is, who you are, and who others are, which impacts how you relate to people. 

I believe God is a paradox. 

God is really, really big, but He is really, really close. 

God created the universe by speaking. 

He could have created us the same way, but He chose to be more hands-on.

God causes the sun to rise, tides to form, rainbows and flowers to burst forth.

God makes fish, birds, duck-billed platypuses, and everything else good in the world. 

God is all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful. 

God holds all of creation together, and He knows each one of us intimately. 

And He wants to know us even more intimately. 

God is really, really big, but He is really, really close. 

Apart from God, I can never experience the fullness of life, and that leads me to have a humble attitude of trust and obedience, which leads to gratitude. 

And it causes me to look at every person with – as best as I can – the same grace and hope that God looks at them. 

This is why in Philippians 2, Paul says we should be humble, thinking of others as better than ourselves … not looking out for our own interests, but taking an interest in others too. 

That’s humility, and that’s why we trust God more than we trust ourselves. 

When we played the “You Decide” game, each of the blindfolded teammates had to decide if they wanted to listen to their partner or not.

Why did it make the most sense for the blindfolded partner to listen to what the non-blindfolded partner said?

Because they could see things the blindfolded partner couldn’t.

Do you see the connection with trusting God? God sees things we can’t.

That’s why we trust God more than we trust ourselves. 

That’s humility.

And when we do that, that doesn’t mean we’re weak, it means we’re in a relationship with God and we trust Him.

When I think of people that show great strength in their lives, no one is stronger than Jesus. 

Let’s look at Jesus’ words in Matthew to understand what I mean. 

There are four books in the New Testament that describe Jesus’ life on earth. 

One of them was written by Matthew, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. 

The verse I want us to read is toward the end of Jesus’ earthly life. 

In fact, it is right after what we refer to as the “last supper.”

Let’s pick up the story after this meal with His disciples. 

Would someone read Matthew 26:36-39 for the group? 

[I LOVE having students read the Bible out loud, but if it doesn’t work for your group, you or another adult can read it.]

36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 

37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 

38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 

I really want you to focus on Jesus’ words in this passage. 

Would you read verse 39 again please?

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

What is Jesus asking God to do?

[Interact with your students’ responses, giving them a little time to try to understand what Jesus means in this passage.]

Jesus is saying to God, “Father, I understand what I am about to do…. I am choosing to do this because I love people so much. … I want to set them free, and give them hope, and make it possible for them to reconnect with us. … I want to pay the price for their sin, because they can’t pay this price on their own. … I want all of these things to happen, but if there is any other way to make it happen – any other way that doesn’t mean I suffer the pain and shame of the cross – let’s do it that other way. … But I love you, and I trust you, so I will joyfully do it your way if you say this is the way it needs to be done.”

“My father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Humility means trusting God more than you trust yourself. 

Jesus demonstrated this humility throughout His life.

I mentioned part of a verse from Philippians 2 earlier. Here is rest of that passage.

Philippians 2:5-8 says this: 

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Ok, I know this is super heavy – slave, obedience, death – and it’s easy to think, “Ok, but this is Jesus; what does this look like in my every day, ordinary life? “

I think that’s a great question, and I think you can probably come up with some good answers, if you take the time to think about it. 

So, let’s have a little more mandatory fun time

Get back with your first mandatory-fun-time group and answer this question: what are some areas in my life right now where I can demonstrate humility by trusting God more than I trust myself?

I’ll give you three minutes … ready, set, go.

[After one minute, say something like, “Instead of just brainstorming, ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal some things to you.”]

[Give a 30-second warning before wrapping up, then debrief with your group.]

Those are some great responses. Thanks for playing along and being vulnerable.

My guess is, most of us have quite a few things in our lives that we struggle to trust God with over trusting ourselves.

Maybe you have a tough time honoring your parents, and you’re trying to figure out why God says that’s the best way to live.

Maybe you’re struggling in a class at school, you know you could cheat and get away with it, and you’re asking God why we shouldn’t steal from others and cut corners on our responsibilities.

Maybe you have a friend or boyfriend or girlfriend that is not good for you, and you are considering whether or not you should distance yourself from them just a bit to make sure you’re able to stay focused on God. 

Most of the time, we don’t really have a sin problem, we have a trust problem. 

The question becomes: Do I really trust that God’s way is best, and it will bring the most rich and satisfying life? 

Humility means trusting God more than you trust yourself. 

And when you do, you experience closeness with God, and it makes you grateful. 

Jesus modeled humility for us by the way He lived His life, and He calls us to do the same.

It’s difficult, but it’s worth it, and I know with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do it.

I love you guys – go have a great small group!

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • How do you think you would have done in the “You Decide” game?
  • Would you have rather been blindfolded or the one guiding the other? Why?
  • Why is it harder to listen to someone else tell you what to do?
  • What were some of the challenges of the game?
  • What are all the parallels between this game and our relationship with God?
  • In our message, we defined humility as “Getting your confidence from God, who loves and values you more than you do yourself.” What would you change about that definition? Would you add or take anything away?
  • What’s the opposite of humility?
  • How can “getting our confidence from God” give us freedom to live a humble life?
  • How many examples can you think of (or find in your Bible) where Jesus showed humility?
  • How does it impact you to know that Jesus – who is 100 percent God – chose to be humble to God the Father?
  • How can choosing to trust and obey God lead to gratitude in your life? 

(End lesson)

This lesson is from our Humility series, which is one of many included in the…

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ADVENT & CHRISTMAS BUNDLE – Save 59% on $167 worth of youth ministry lessons & games for Advent & Christmas!

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