When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2 NIV
Like others I know, I teeter between pride and humility. My ancestral roots wander back to Prussia, a once proud nation that lies in state vanquished into history and banished from the Earth. You might say I was born with an extra dose of Pride. My father was a proud man. He taught me to walk with confidence, chest out, head held high, and to act with pride. To my earthly father, pride was a virtue. Not so with my heavenly Father. My heavenly Father, our God, disdains pride. That is seen numerous times throughout Scripture.
To learn more about Prussia watch this short video.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6 NIV
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13 NIV
Instead of exalting Pride, the Lord values Humility. Being more godly is to walk with greater humility. This has never been easy but seems especially challenging in our celebrity-driven, consumerism culture.
We hear things like “The man who dies with the most toys wins.” (Book of Otis 1:1)
The Word of God exalts humility above pride.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3 NIV
Do you struggle with pride over humility? I know I do. Almost daily.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
So how do we grow in humility and decrease in pride?
Humility is poverty in spirit, tempering our vain desire for personal greatness and directing us to a love for God and our fellow neighbors. Humility demands we submit ourselves to God in all circumstances and in every situation. All circumstances. Every situation. Even when we do not particularly care for the circumstances we find ourselves facing or the want to be in the situation we find ourselves in.
Humility does not mean we have a low self-opinion, but a lowly spirit, recognizing we are God’s creation and therefore we have value but not seeking to exalt ourselves above God or others. Growing in humility cultivates peace in our daily living and in our outlook. Being humble, we worry less, we trust more.
We can nurture our spirit of humility by being thankful, recognizing the efforts and needs of others before shining the spotlight on us, and remaining self-aware and truthful with ourselves. Growing in humility is no easy task. Not at first. You’ll never get to the point where you can take pride in your humility, although you may be tempted to on occasion.
Being honest with ourselves means that we must take accurate daily inventory of our day, recognizing where we have stepped on others or wronged our neighbor and quickly make amends to repair any harm that may have occurred as a result of our prideful actions. Through our personal inventory, we aim to keep our list short, and recognize our strengths and our weaknesses and grow in our dependence on God to help supply what we need to overcome pride and flourish in humility.
Walking by faith and not by sight is a daily journey that demands constant attention. Diminishing our pride takes times. Our spirit of humility requires regular watering and intentional care to yield the fruits of our labor. Without humility, we will continue to fall short of the glory of God because pride overruns the most profoundly spiritual of men.