Do you feel that humility is one of your many gifts? Are you proud of the fact that you are so humble? Does it take only a little prompting for you to share how incredibly humble you are?
…or, do you know someone else like this? (Don’t answer that last question out loud.) Regardless of whether we see it in ourselves or in others, I think that we all know that pride is a problem.
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Proverbs 16:18-19 NASB
In fact, I believe that pride was the root of the first sin (judge for yourself from Genesis 3:1-6). We bristle at pride shown in others, and may cringe when we find ourselves acting prideful. Pride not only leads us to think more highly of ourselves than we should; when cultivated, it results in wrong actions.
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
Ezekiel 16:49 NASB
So, if we can agree that pride is bad, what do we do about it? It’s one thing to intend to be humble (remember, this isn’t the same as being a doormat), but let’s get practical. Here are some tangible ideas to help you – and me – work on this challenge. (Or, if you have already achieved mastery over pride, I guess that these ideas are just here to help me out.)
Remember that anything you have, are, or accomplish is ultimately from God.
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NASB
Look for the gifts that God has given to other people.
It’s easy to play the comparison game: “Nathan is better than Kyle at _______“. Sports tells us clearly who the winners and losers are in a given league. Jobs with titles and loyalty cards with levels have the same effect.
However, real life is not about measuring yourself against others; it’s about finding your part in God’s plan, and filling your role well. “So what?” if that woman at church can sing better than you. If your role in the Body of Christ is to teach children about Jesus, who cares how you compare to someone with a different purpose?
Don’t forget that we are each imperfect, as well.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
Romans 7:18-19 NASB
The other option is to let God handle your pride (that is, take you down a peg…or two), but that’s not always a pleasant experience. Consider King Nebuchadnezzar, who experienced a major humbling experience (see Daniel chapter 4), and eventually came to the following conclusion:
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”
Daniel 4:37 NASB
Try to find your way to humility before it finds you!