Yes, I’ve admitted it here before, and now I’ll do it again.
I have to fight against pride.
Once in a while, we may run across people who openly brag or boast about themselves or their accomplishments. In those cases, pride is pretty obvious.
But I don’t think that’s usually how it works for me. (Or at least no one’s ever told me so!) Mine is typically an inward thing. It’s the thoughts that run through my mind, the silent judging of others as I compare myself favorably to them. Having a much higher opinion of myself than I should gets me in trouble way too often.
Pride also comes through when I decide to rely on myself to get through whatever I’m facing. I don’t see my need for God, either because I don’t take the time to think about asking for His help, or because I think, “I’ve got this.”
So what do I need to be portraying instead of pride? One simple word. Humility.
The definition of humility from dictionary.com is “a modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance.” Well, that’s a lot to chew on. It’s also a perfect segue to Romans 12:3. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…”
If I’m going to be like Christ, humility is an important character trait to have. Let’s look at Philippians 2:5-8.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
In Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, she shares a story about an event she attended. The short version is, everyone there seemed to already know each other. So she ended up sitting at a table alone. As she reviewed the situation later, she wrote the following:
“Anything that infuses us with humility is good. Even if it feels a bit like humiliation in the moment, the workings of humility within are a gift.”
We’ve probably all been in a similar situation. But I’ve certainly never thought of being alone in a crowd as a chance to be “infused with humility.” I haven’t seen it as a gift. Yet God can use times like that to work humility into me.
I like how she follows that up with this thought.
“The only difference between humility and humiliation is that one chose to bow low while the other tripped and fell there.”
We’ve probably all experienced humiliation as well, but most likely we didn’t choose it! I want to choose humility over pride, as hard as it may be. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” If ever there was motivation to rid my life of pride, that’s it. I want to avoid destruction for sure!
Finally, when we’re willing to live in humility, to let go of our self-importance and our pride, we can learn this lesson.
“…on the other side of the stripping of pride are some of the best gifts God gives us.”
The Bible reminds us that on the other side of humility we find wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 tells us this. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” If I think I know it all, I’m not searching for true wisdom. When I realize how much I need wisdom – for marriage, parenting, service – then I am brought low and am actually able to receive wisdom.
As counter cultural as it may sound, I want to live in humility. This is definitely not a battle I can win on my own. But, to quote 2 Corinthians 2:14, “…thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” As I yield to the Holy Spirit and allow him to work in my life, humility can get the victory over pride, and I can take another step toward becoming more like my Savior.