Pride; August 16, 2020

Luke 14:11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

This doesn’t specify whether Peter was present at this particular time, but he certainly got the message, because he wrote, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘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) Actually, this message is pretty consistent throughout the Bible. Peter was quoting Proverbs 3:34, but there were other passages he could have quoted as well. It’s all evidence that the Bible gives good advice. I have learned (from experience!) that pride makes us blind and leads us into all sorts of pitfalls. It’s not that we are always to be self-deprecating, insisting that we are of no account and can do nothing. That often enough is false humility, looking for compliments and/or seeking to evade responsibility. As Paul said, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3) He said that in the context of teaching about gifting, and how each person is to exercise the gifts they have been given. Failure to exercise the gifts we have been given is a sin against the God who gave them to us, as the parable of the talents says so clearly. (Matthew 25:14-30) However, we must never think that those talents make us more valuable as a human being than someone else. We might be “the man for the job” in one situation, but completely helpless in another, where another person would shine. As always Jesus is our perfect example. Though the highest of the high – an actual member of the Godhead – He humbled Himself to take on the penalty for our sin, as Paul expressed so beautifully in Philippians 2:5-11. We too are to have assurance of who and what God created us to be, but exercise that to lift up those around us, leaving pride out of the picture entirely.

As I am reminded fairly frequently, pride, conceit even, has been a major stumbling block for me much of my life. I have recognized how blessed I was, but too often have failed to grasp that it is all grace, and not anything I have earned or deserved. I descry the “entitlement mentality” I see so much around me, but I’ve wallowed in it myself! God has dealt with me so much in this area that at this point I’m in danger of being proud of my humility! I recognize that the human heart is quite the expert at deceiving itself, so I’ve got to keep focusing, deliberately, on Jesus Christ my Lord, and not on myself. If I will do that, I will recognize that not only can I do nothing apart from Him, (John 15:5) in Him I can do anything at all He asks me to do. (Philippians 4:13) My status is that of a child of God, and my duty and privilege is to draw others into that status with me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I need it more often than I should! I ask You to guide me this morning as I contact the lady who was hurt last month because I denied her communion elements, when she has never made a public commitment to Christ, much less been baptized. She simply doesn’t understand that. It was good to hear the experiences in that area of a couple of our most recent believers, and how they avoided coming to church when they knew we would be having communion because they hated the feeling of exclusion. Help me communicate Your love and Your purity to this lady, that she may feel Your acceptance and accept Your offer of salvation by grace through faith, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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