Article # six: Pride vs Humility
F A R
The proud are too proud to admit their pride. Mannie considers herself to be properly humble. (Because good christians are properly humble.) Besides, Mannie is practical. What have I got to be proud of? I’m not rich, not beautiful, and my singing causes stampedes. Since I haven’t got much, I can’t be proud.
No, Mannie, it doesn’t work that way. The poor can be just as proud as the wealthy because there is always someone with less. Think there isn’t pride in the slums? (Could be that’s what got them there.) Think the less-than-beautiful can’t find something on their body to be proud of? (Hey, look at my pretty knuckles!) And how many people you know can start a stampede by singing a lullaby?
For all her introspection Mannie can’t see her pride. You see, Mannie is a victim. Victims, you may have noticed, have a victim’s mentality. It’s not my fault! is their anthem and creed and defense. He, she, they and it are to blame.
But Mannie’s proud all right. Proud to have lots of friends. Proud to never have missed a sunday service in over a year and only late twice and “both times because of Merf even though I laid out his clothes and kept telling him we got to get going, but he just kept dawdling.” Proud of the compliments she gets for her library work. Proud of her house, car, spirituality, sense of humor, honesty, the dimple on her cheek, and many etceteras including ten very pretty knuckles.
Pride is a destroyer, a corrupter, a dream-wrecker. Pride ushers many to hell and causes believers to distance themselves from Christ. One of the most wretched men I know once said, “Pride is all I got!” Yeah, he has pride and pride has him.
P e t e r : God resists the proud. (1Peter 5:5)
Doesn’t sound good for the proud, does it?
A. W. T o z e r : The promises of God are made to the humble: the proud man by his pride forfeits every blessing promised to the lowly in heart. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
Fortunately, though Mannie has pride she also has humility. Yes, she has both, same as you and me. (Well, maybe not you.) Pride distances her from Jesus, humility keeps her from drifting further.
What is humility?
A. W. T o z e r : The humble man…. acknowledges that apart from God he is nothing, has nothing, knows nothing and can do nothing. But this knowledge does not discourage him, for he knows also that in Christ he is somebody. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
Mannie is fully aware her salvation is a gift from God and not something earned, she is totally dependent on Christ to get her to heaven. That’s humility. She got herself saved through humility and humility keeps her that way.
What is pride?
Pride is the opposite of humility, a lack of awareness and acknowledgment of our dependence on Christ. Pride is refusing to acknowledge that in us, outside of Christ, there is no good thing.
Mannie can’t, or won’t, see that. She thinks she has the ability to manage her life, and retains a certain independence from the One she calls, “Lord, Lord.” Not good.
N E A R
Merf, too, has pride, yet he is not a proud man. Hunh?
Merf is a humble man with a lingering problem with pride, not a proud man with only a little humility. Humility outweighs pride. Perhaps when he dies he will still have some of the bad stuff. But he is going in the right direction.
The right direction?
Yes. You see, that’s the most we can expect, to be going in the right direction. We don’t leap from here to there; it’s a snail’s pace.
A. W. T o z e r : Sin has done a pretty complete job of ruining us and the process of restoration is long and slow. (God Tells the Man Who Cares)
It takes time for Jesus to fix us, lots of time, for most a lifetime is too short. It’s not that Jesus is a slow worker. There are two people involved in the sanctification process, the Sanctifier and the sanctifiee (just invented that word). It’s the sanctifiee who slows the process.
If we are improving, growing in childlike trust in Christ, drawing closer to His side, that’s all we can expect. As Merf grows in humility pride loosens its grip.
How does Merf grow in humility? By growing in the awareness of his need for Christ, by not trying to improve himself, by getting off the throne of his life and staying off, by accepting as fact he is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, by refusing to complete in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit, by dying to self, from shifting from a Merf-person to a Christ-person, by beholding Him in praise and adoration. (Going in the right direction is good, very good. But there is another matter for serious consideration, the speed of travel. But we won’t get into that just now.)
C h a l l e n g e : You have no hope of completing your course (fulfilling your destiny) if pride reigns in your heart. You cannot please your Father, bear good fruit, be a benefit to others. Confront your pride, not alone but with Jesus. “The Spirit of truth” will reveal your heart if you but petition Him.
P r a y e r : Lord Jesus, though I freely confess pride of heart, though I acknowledge my difficulty in accepting the role of servant, I do pray You speak to the Holy Spirit about this article, asking Him to heavily anoint it. Let good come to Your saints. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)