Pride. There is a necessity in our culture today for pride in our country, pride in a job well done, and pride in the accomplishments of our children. But along with the recognition for such pride, there should also be a label warning of the dangers which accompany pride. Solomon, in his many proverbs, warns of the dangers of pride and how it leads to destruction and into the ways of evil (Pr. 8:23; 16:18; 29:23). Pride is first on a list of things the Lord hates (Pr. 6:16-17). Jesus lists pride as an evil thing that begins from within a man’s heart (Mark 7:20-23).
Humility. The opposite of pride and what should be our desire in life. We, the church, speak of the need for humility in our lives, even singing a song reminding us of the need to “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord” (James 4:10). But, what is it that we are really singing? What does it really mean to be humble?
Perhaps the best description of humility is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. He appeals to Christians to have an attitude like Christ, who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,… He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, …” (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus, in the form of God, became obedient to God. An obedience that put Him on the cross! And then I shudder when I think of all the times I have stopped short in my commitment to the Lord, because the demands went against my preferences or my desires. Did you catch that last line? You see, when we commit to Christ in baptism, we remove ourselves, our likes or dislikes, our desires and we “empty ourselves” before God (Galatians 2:20)! Perhaps if we can figure out how to rid ourselves of pride, then we can truly be the people the Lord wants us to be. The next time you defend a decision made regarding what you wear, what you say, how you act or when you choose to neglect a work of the Lord, listen to how you begin your defense. If you begin with the words, “I don’t think…”; or “I don’t believe…”, is it possible that you have not yet humbled yourself before the Lord? I’m glad that Jesus emptied Himself completely, showing us the way of humility.
We really do stop terribly short in our commitment to the Lord. What kind of light would we show to the community, if we decided to be obedient to the point of death? Humble yourself and shine for the Lord. – Paul Mowrer Monticello church of Christ, Monticello, AR