How can I be humble without putting myself down? What does God mean by esteeming others?
"You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (I Peter 5:5-6).
When Peter said that we are to humble ourselves before God, he isn't saying to put ourselves down. Compared to God, we are already lower in status. Humility is recognizing this. It is seeing the truth that God is far more valuable than I am, regardless of how valuable or might I might be in this world. Thus, I take no pride in myself or act as if I know more than God.
In the same way, "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 2:3-4). Regardless of my own personal position in this world, I must cultivate an attitude that other people are more important to me than I am. Again, it is not about lowering my worth in my own eyes -- it is about raising the worth that I see in other people. What I want is of less importance to me than what other people need.
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).
Jesus didn't become something less when he entered this world. He was still God, which he proved many times. But he put his position aside to treat mankind as something more important to him. Though he is king, he chose to serve, and thus, he left us an example.
Have you ever run across a situation that you thought was beneath your dignity to get involved in? Humility is the reason you get involved anyway.