Pride vs Humility: And the Winner Is?

Pride ”“ The Often Sneaky Sin

Pride - Pretty Crow Ugly SongDo you ever struggle with pride? I don’t like to think that I do but last weekend it was lovingly pointed out to me that pride was rearing its ugly little head. As I thought and reflected upon this, I realize that there are more times than I would like to admit that pride rose to the victor status as humility fell to the wayside. Pride is a sneaky sin. It seems like instant honor but in the end it shows it true nature in the form of foolishness.

It all started as I listened to my daughter tell her dad about helping out at the church last week. This past weekend was the annual church homecoming service and it takes lots of helping hands to make preparation for not only the service but the covered dish dinner that follows.  My daughter was telling my husband about her week including that she was at the church and tasked with placing the tablecloths on the many tables. This was true and she did a fine job but what she didn’t tell him was that I was also there assisting her. So I quickly added to her story letting him know that I was there too doing the same thing. My husband looked at me teasing and said, ”Is that a little pride sneaking in?”

There’s nothing like having a sin pointed out, but he was right. The only reason I piped into her story was to make sure I received credit too! This incident made me rethink pride. Now I could have justified my addition to her story saying I was making sure the entire story ”picture” was painted but no matter what justification that I may attempt to put a spin on the story it still stacked in as pride.

The Dandelion of Sins

Pride is the weedy dandelion of the soul says author, David Rhodes. He illustrates that pride is like a weed whose root goes deep and when even only a little is left behind, it quickly spouts again. Its seeds will lodge in the tiniest of cracks needing very little encouragement but if given good soil it will flourish. Its dangers, just like a dandelion, is that with even well-meaning intentions, it spreads and feeds on goodness. This is very much like a child blowing the seeds hoping for wishes when they are just planting more weeds.

We don’t even have to speak to have pride, for it can come from what we don’t say as much as what we do. Take for example the smart clerk who closed hundreds of sales with this statement: ”Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn’t afford.”Â Vain attempts of trying to impress others reflect only our prideful tendencies.

Vain attempts of trying to impress others reflect only our prideful tendencies. Click To Tweet

When pride shows up we forget about honoring the Lord. We forget that being respectful of others through humility is the true path to receiving honor. When we reflect on the commands of Christ we remember that an attitude of humility is where the reaping realization of heaven’s rewards come to light. Our world doesn’t agree with this. It suggests that pushing and shoving your way to the top while shouting out accomplishments is the way to true enlightenment.  But God doesn’t care about our social standing, if we wear up to date fashions, or drive the latest model of popular car. He instead invites us to a higher place. So lay aside the pretense of prestige and false honor, we need to look for how to better serve God.

The Necessary Humble Realization

So this week our focus verse on humility falls into place. It is far better to accomplish the work God gives us to do quietly and faithfully for this leads to honor in eternity. When we compare ourselves to others and the world’s standards we lose out on living our life for God. We miss the wisdom of life. It should be our individual goal to compare ourselves to Christ. This is when we realize both our sinful life and our limitations. Recognizing our gifts along with our strengths and then using them as Christ directs is a must. This commitment to life is a realistic self-assessment.

In the nuts and bolts of humility vs. pride, God seeks the humble. It is for us to realize that service to Him is more important than status. The truly humble person though is not humble because of God’s promises. They are humble because it is who they are in Him.  For the truly humble person only compares themselves to Christ through and by the gratitude of what He has done for us.

Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom: humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:33 (NLT)

Being Humble in a “Me”- Focused World

Have you ever watched crows? They appear so sleek and elegant in their iridescent and black shiny coats that shimmer in the light. Its haughty seemingly prideful personality gives an outer appearance of a grand bird, but then it speaks. The harsh brash sound presents its true nature and what once appeared as justifiably grand reduces itself to insignificance in the seeming face of pride. Sometimes people are like the arrogant crows. Have you ever seen the crow in yourself, even if only silently without voicing words?

To avoid being like a crow you need to be who God made you. For when approaching your self-worth, it is important that you look at your identity in Christ. That you realize that apart from Him, you aren’t capable of much. The concept is easy but the delivery and practice often presents itself as challenging, especially when the world’s view takes a front row seat.

So how do you avoid the pitfalls of pride and see a necessary identity of humility?  The needed identity of humility is one that keeps you focused on Christ. This is a life of focus so centered and strong, you are consistently doing and serving as He would do and serve. A life of humility does not look to the world for praise. And it is one that pushes down what others think, while realizing the power of God’s reflection. Impressing others fall to the wayside as you seek to impress upon others the ways of Christ.

A life of humility does not look to the world for praise. Click To Tweet

The Humble Don’t Crumble

The world places its demands on you trying its best to impress you to conform to its principles in order to be accepted. But God says this is not the way to live. It is the life of the humble that receives the honor. The weak become strong through Him. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ”“ 10) His power works best in what appears meek. But meek and humble do not mean weak and ready to crumble.

American Episcopal clergyman and author, Phillips Brooks, is best known for writing the lyrics of ”O Little Town of Bethlehem.” But he also penned some wise words to say about the practice of humility. ”The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.”Â (Skoglund, 1988)

Find yourself motivated to be humble but bold for Christ. Click To Tweet

Stand tall and take the challenge to ignore the world and its ideals. Follow your convictions knowing you are right with God, the one that accepts you for who He made you to be. Find yourself motivated to be humble but bold for Christ. Through it all feel the wrap of comfort His arms provide. Know that by believing and following His commands, your humble lifestyle receives the reward of honor for all eternity.

Yours in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Be humble, or you’ll stumble

D.L. Moody

Extra Study

Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 22:4, Proverbs 25:6 ”“ 7, Luke 14:7 ”“ 11, Romans 12:3, Philippians 2:3

Credits 
Skoglund, E. (1988, December). Burning Out for God: How to Be Used by God Without Being Used Up. Pathfinder Pamphlets, 11. Downers Grove, Illinois, United States of America: Intervarsity Press.

 What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Have you experienced the often sneaky sin of pride slip into your thoughts or actions? Do you practice the sometimes difficult life of staying humble in a “me”- focused world? Join us in discussion on pride vs. humility. Who is the winner in your life?

How God is working through your life?