BY LESLIE SPEAS
Do you remember this song? “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, I get better lookin’ each day.” Probably many of you don’t, as I think it was from 1980. I wish I could remember other important things as well as I remember song lyrics from the eighties. But back to our topic, it’s indeed hard to be humble.
I always thought I was a humble person until I did more research on the sin of pride. Here some examples of behaviors of a prideful person:
- Insists on arguing his/her point and won’t listen to anyone else
- Has trouble with correction, is defensive, always has an excuse, or blames others
- Finds fault with others
- Craves superiority over others
- Thinks he/she can carry his/her own burdens
- Judges others
- Is desperate for attention and/or has a strong desire to be admired
- Thinks that he/she can handle things better than God
Uh-oh. I see myself in a few of those, especially five and eight. Today, pride is often celebrated as a virtue. We have pride in our work, our children, and our culture, among many other things. Pride is defined as excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with his/her recognition of the grace of God. Pride is also known as vanity. C.S. Lewis called pride the great sin and the devil’s most effective and destructive tool.
Humility is the opposite of pride. It’s knowing the truth about yourself and your proper standing with God. It’s accepting that you are weak and that your heart is beyond your understanding. It’s acknowledging that you have a creator who knows you better than you know yourself. It’s freedom from pride or arrogance.
Humility is often seen as a weakness, but this is a misconception. It is associated with quietness, submission, and thoughts of inadequacy, but it does not mean that you should bow down or be subservient to other people. God wants us to possess humility. A humble person has a gentle spirit and thinks soberly about him/herself. This means that we don’t brag about our accomplishments and abilities. Rather, we acknowledge that our sufficiency is of God in all things. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” I like C.S. Lewis’ definition of humility, “Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.”
If we are honest, almost all of us suffer from pride at one time or another. If you sense pride in your life, consider some of these strategies to get back on track!
Ask God to reveal and remove pride in our hearts, minds, and lives.
- Read the Bible and do what it says
For us to hear God, we have to listen to His Word and be obedient to it.
To keep pride at bay in our lives, we must continually confess and repent of our sins.
- Serve others
If we serve others, we can stay humble and avoid pride.
- Take your prideful thoughts captive
Do what we are instructed to do in Philippians 4:8:
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
How does pride manifest itself in your life?
What will you do to overcome the tendency to be prideful?