Understanding Who God Is, and Who We Are, Makes Pride Unthinkable
I’ve been reflecting on pride and humility recently. Here are some thoughts:
When we’re prideful, we make God our opponent: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6).
There are many things wrong—not to mention ludicrous—with making God our opponent, but the most obvious one is this: it’s a battle we can never win.
Last spring during track season, I watched Jake, one of my junior high grandsons, shot-put. He’s an excellent athlete. But suppose my grandson thought he was good enough to challenge the 2016 Olympic shot put gold medalist. Ironically, that gold medalist was Ryan Crouser, who attended my high school, a mile from my house, the same school two of my grandsons will go to. In fact, Crouser competed on the same field Jake now does. Jake has no illusions about doing so, but my 14-year-old grandson challenging the reigning Olympic Gold medalist would be far less laughable than any of us challenging God!
Since God says He opposes the proud, anytime we’re proud we may as well hang a sign around our necks that says, “Take me down, God.” Because the Bible clearly says that’s exactly what He will do. And we will be powerless against Him.
Whenever we walk in pride, we are a fall waiting to happen: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). In contrast, God promises the humble that He will give them grace. Pride makes God our foe; humility makes God our friend who pours grace out on us. Instead of exercising His power against us, God wants to give His power to us, and He does that in proportion to our realization of our weakness without Him (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Not only our attitude, but also our actions will demonstrate whether pride or humility is at work in our lives. God is the Audience of One, ever watching, ever knowing. Knowing this will make us acutely aware of our sin and weakness, and humble us accordingly—and then, if we ask Him, He will give us abundant and overflowing grace.
Puritan John Flavel said, “They that know God will be humble; they that know themselves cannot be proud.”
The way to be humble is to take a good look at God and then a good look at yourself, and notice the difference. When you see Him as He is and yourself as you are, the very thought of being proud or arrogant should be absolutely laughable.
May we as followers of Christ consciously pursue humility and not allow Satan to get an inroad in our lives. When we are praised, we should give praise to Christ, not just to appear humble, but to actually BE humble.
A 3-minute video I recorded on pride and humility:
A short article on pride and humility: True Leading Is Serving
And here’s a biblical study on pride.