Humility is what ultimately will enable us to be all Christ wants us to be. We can’t come to God without it. We can’t love God without it. We can’t be an effective witness for Christ without it. We can’t love and serve others without it. We can’t lead in a godly way without it. We can’t communicate properly without it. We can’t resolve problems witut it. We can’t deal with the sin of others rightly without it and especially resist sin without it. In short, in order to truly live and be who God wants us to be (not what we want God to have us be) we have to embrace and live out humility. Paul says (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Throughout the Bible we see different types of pride:
Position (Matt. 23:6), ability (2 Chronicles 26:15-16), achievement (Daniel 4:22), wealth (1 Timothy 6:17), possessions (Matt.6:19), knowledge (Isaiah 47:10), learning (1 Corinthians 8:1), spiritual attainment (Luke 22:24), self-righteousness (Rom.10:3), being esteemed or liked (Gal. 1:10), and even pride of spiritual experiences (2 Cor.12:7). We’re bent toward pride. It’s so easy for Satan to use it. Pride is idolatry; a proud person is a self-worshipper. It’s a spiritual drunkenness, it intoxicates you. Many people try to hide their pride behind spiritual words and actions or some sort of morality they think they are able to muster, but it’s there nonetheless.
We never find the Bible saying “oh come on, you’re thinking too poorly of yourself, what you need is to consider yourself more.” Quite the contrary, God has given us many stories and warnings to discourage this very thing. Some examples are Satan (Genesis 3:1-5). Uzziah served God for many years, he prospered and achieved so much but (2 Chronicles 26:16). Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance stripped him of everything, until he humbled himself before the Most High, praising the one who (Daniel 4:37). There’s so many more examples, like the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14, or King Saul. They all we’re warned of their idolatry. So have we:
A prideful person believes that they, in and of themselves, are or should be the source of what is good, right and worthy of praise, and even what is fair. They also believe that they should be or are the accomplisher of anything that is worthwhile to accomplish, and that they should benefit from everything. In short, they believe that all things should be from them, through them, and to them or for them. Pride seeks to ungod God. Even self-pity. It seeks to domesticate God, to lower Him to our standards, to what we want and what we will with our fallen nature, attempting to make man more sovereign than God.
Some manifestations of pride are:
-complaining against God (Rom.9:20)
-Lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25)
-Anger (Matthew 20:1-16) murder your brother.
-Seeing yourself as better or lower than others (Luke 7:36-50)
-Talking too much about yourself (Prov.27:2; Gal.6:3)
-Seeking independence or control (1 Cor.1:10-13, Eph.5:21)
-Being consumed with what others think (gal.1:10)
There’s so many many more. Self-worship destroys people as well. But it mainly makes the person believe that they are sovereign, not God.
So, what to do? The first step to true repentance is seeing pride for what it really is. The second step is to put on humility.
Our greatest example is Jesus. The sole fact of Him coming to Earth was humility at its maximum level. As it says in Phil.2:6-8 he stripped Himself of glory, pure worship and majesty. He described himself as Matt.11:29. He knew when to be firm and when to rebuke others for God’s glory (Matt.23). He was in complete submission to the Father’s will, being Himself God (John 4:34; 8:28-29). His life was devoted to glorifying God (John 17:1,4). He became the servant of men and taught His disciples to do the same (John 12:3-17).
We must have the perspective of Christ rather than the world’s (Rom.12:2).
Another act of Christ’s humility: John 13:1-17 where He washes His disciple’s feet. This task in those times was done by the lowliest slave who was not even considered a human being in that society, but an animal and worse than an animal, trash. Yet Jesus did this, but His most amazing demonstration of humility and service was His death on the cross for wretched utterly lost and dead sinners like you and me. The Almighty God made Himself a bit lower than angels…why shouldn’t we kneel before Him and put ourselves below others, considering all people greater than us?
There are so many examples in the Bible of men who humbled themselves to the dirt: Moses, John the Baptist, Mary, the tax collector that beat his breast, the Apostle Paul, etc. But think for a moment, on Christ’s sacrifice on that cross, on what He really did there.
I’m gonna say something that might not fit well with many of you: God owes salvation to no one. He really doesn’t (Rom.3:23). God would be as just to send every single one of us to hell for our sins, for we cannot reach God on our own effort at all, like Isaiah 64:6 says. Yet God, in His sovereignty and mercy, chose to give sinners a way to be saved. If He had not done so, we would all be condemned. That alone should humble all of us here. Until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life and brought you from a life of commitment to serve self, whether it’s religious self, moral self, proud self, covetous self, lustful self, prideful self, unforgiving self, lazy self, it doesn’t matter! What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you have gone to the cross in union with Christ it has been shattered. Your sovereignty dies at the Cross. At the place where God shed His blood for sinners to redeem them before a most Holy God who cannot stand the sight of sin before Him. When you come before the cross, you realize how lost you are without Christ, how your life really is nothing. See, we have been raised in a very self-centered, egocentric society that idolizes self and materialism. We hear from apostates that the last thing we need to add to what we already have is Jesus, as if He were a pendant, an accessory missing. Christ is all we need. Only he who will partake of his share of guilt of the cross can partake of His Grace.
So you see, the cross shatters your pride doesn’t it? The goal of a humble person is to elevate God and encourage others for 2 Cor.5:15.
Abraham gave Lot the first choice when they parted company and divided the land (Gen.13).
Moses is said to be Numbers 12:3.
John the Baptist acknowledged Luke 3:16.
Mary Luke 1:38, 46, 48.
The tax collector Luke 18:13.
Paul Acts 20:18-19; 1 Tim.1:15, Eph.3:8.
Paul nailed down what humility is in Romans 11:33-36.
So, what is the mindset of Christ? (a servant’s mindset): a focus on God and others, a pursuit of the recognition and the exaltation of God, and a desire to glorify and please God in all things and by all things He has given.
Continued in Part 3