Humility and The True Cost of Pride
It’s the new year and you all know that I’ve not done much on the planning/resolutions front. Holly left to go back to college yesterday, so I sat with my planner a bit and did jot down a few goals like Bible study topics for this year, personal goals, ministry goals, and items I need to buy once “for the year” to make my life a little easier/more organized (birthday cards, hosiery, feminine products, cat litter, wrapping paper–all the stuff I will need in emergency mode if I don’t buy them ahead. haha.)
I have nailed down the books I’ll be reading for the next 12 months, thanks to all of your lovely recommendations. I’ve started Art and the Bible by Francis Shaeffer on Elizabeth’s recommendation, and also plan Devoted: Great Men and Their Godly Moms by Tim Challies as a “January read” on my friend Lauren’s mom’s recommendation. I recently finished A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23 on Lauren’s recommendation and LOVED IT.
If you’re not aware, we’re also reading through Andrew Murray’s classic book Humility on the blog and talking through it on Instagram Stories. (link to the book is to Amazon but it’s available in pdf online free!)
This is one of my all time favorite books because we all need the reminder life without humility is wasted and futile and resisted by God.
There are two potential problems in our pursuit of humility, though.
- Pursing humility as a virtue without focusing on our meek, gentle Jesus produces either a self-loathing that looks more like poor self image than humility, or an icky outward “humblebrag” (as Tim Challies calls it) like a Uriah Heep from David Copperfield who is a self proclaimed “umble servant” who makes himself look harmless with all his talk about his humility while veiling his grand designs to rip off the family he works for.
- Our blindness to pride. We can’t become humble until we address our pride and so often we are blind to it. As in, we literally don’t know we have a glaring problem that everyone else can see.
Pride is hard to define because it morphs just when we’ve located it in our lives.
- Pride is a feeling of superiority or arrogance that says I’m special or above/exempt from the laws of God.
- Pride is conceit or an inflated view of your own self importance.
- Pride is a smugness about your nationality, occupation, location, friend set, what you do or don’t do.
- We can let pride morph in holy areas like ministry, theological study, or practical living.
- We can pride ourselves in our opinions and look down on those who don’t share them.
- Pride can become so bad that we don’t consider the needs of others because we don’t care or don’t see them. Indifference doesn’t even notice them at all. As my dad would say, “She can’t see past the end of her own nose.” How’s that for horse sense?
Even good things that should be seen as a blessing like marriage, motherhood, school, clothing, eating choices, followers on social media, opportunities for ministry, can all be sinfully morphed by our own pride to become tools/weapons(?) we use to prop ourselves up for aggrandizement.
Pride is what makes us take offense, get our nose out of joint, bristle at rebuke, resist being “judged” (how dare you!?). Pride is what makes us want to be recognized and appreciated. Pride is what makes us angry when we aren’t considered and when we’re overlooked. Pride says we deserve better, that they should have considered ME. Pride wants to be in the know and let everyone know all you do know. Pride insists on being heard and understood. Pride name drops and seeks credit for self. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
And we need to come to grips with this because pride always costs us way more than we realize.
When we sin, the people around us suffer from our pride.
And we also suffer the consequences of our own pride by loss of trust, loss of friendship, loss of reputation, ministry opportunities. We spend time out of fellowship with God, perhaps the most tragic consequence of all.
“Pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil.” Andrew Murray
Humility sees life Biblically.
- Humility says that I am nothing apart from Christ.
- Humility says that it will do the will of the Master.
- Humility recognizes our complete dependence on Christ for everything.
- Humility realizes that any exaltation of us in this life is God’s business, not ours to pursue.
Pride is the flip side of reality.
- Pride says that I’m the end all.
- Pride says that I’ll do what I want to do.
- Pride says that I’m an independent, self-made woman.
- Pride says that we deserve the award, the recognition, the applause.
So every time we disobey God’s Word, we are proud. When we choose to “continue in sin”, pride is reeking havoc in our lives and blinding us so we label it “pleasure, independence, choosing our own destiny.”
“The lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.” Andrew Murray
Every time we forget God, we are proud.
Every time we insist on our own exaltation, we are proud.
Every time we rely on some lesser thing (being, substance, circumstance) for our happiness, we are foolish and proud.
And let me say it again, when we disregard God’s written Word and think we are doing all right, we are proud and pride is at work.
“Without this (humility) there can be no true abiding in God’s presence, or experience of His favor and the power of His Spirit; without this no abiding faith, or love or joy or strength. Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a grace or virtue along with others; it is the root of all, because it alone takes the right attitude before God, and allows Him as God to do all.” Andrew Murray
Think of the cost of pride in the lives of the characters in the Bible if you can’t see pride in your own life:
- The people in the days of Noah who did what was right in their own eyes. They were eating, drinking and imagining that life was good and they were not living in reality.
- The innocent people of Egypt as Pharaoh refused to listen to God’s instruction and God sent plagues until Pharaoh complied. How many innocent people suffered due to Pharaoh’s pride?
- Cain’s jealousy and envy (sin/pride) cost Abel his life, a steep price to pay for his brother’s pride.
Think about who suffered the last time you sinned. Now, this is exactly the reason we need to be serious about our “mortification” of pride and all sin.
Sin always tells you it’s going to make you happy, but it’s the unravelling of you and your loved ones if you don’t repent/forsake it.
As we look again into our hearts this first month of the year, let’s ask God for wisdom and clarity to address the pride in our own hearts so we can live in agreement with the scripture and live in the reality of God’s truth.