Proverbs 29:23 Pride & Humility
“Pride goes before a fall” is a saying ALL know and understand. Being humble resulting in honor is another truth that many won’t agree with.
There is a Christian comedian that I enjoy listening to. His name is Mike Warnke. I don’t hear much about him anymore. I’m not sure why but I have enjoyed all that I have heard from him. The reason he came to my mind is because of the topic of humility. In one of his jokes, he says he got a “humble button” but it was taken away from him because he wore it. Saying you are humble is not the same thing as being humble.
Dictionary.com defines humble this way:
- not proud or arrogant; modest: Though very successful, she remained humble.
- having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
- low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
- courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong.
Jesus, even though He was/is God in the flesh, was humble. He didn’t fit definitions 2 or 3, but 1 describes Him perfectly. He was also courteous, yet He would throw down with any religious leader in debate. And He didn’t hesitate to call them like He saw them. That occasionally included calling the religious leaders “a brood of vipers”, “white washed sepulchers”, and of their father, the devil.
He showed great restraint in that He didn’t put them six feet under!
Jesus KNEW of His place in the Godhead. He did not usurp God’s power or place. He ALWAYS pointed those who were in awe of Him to the Father. He had EVERY REASON to be proud and arrogant as He was/is the ONLY way to the Father. But He NEVER was. He gave freely of Himself to all who would ask. He was not afraid to ‘get His hands dirty’ with work. He even took on the lowest of roles in order to demonstrate to His disciples how they should be.
In Matthew 20:20-28 we see Jesus’ love again when the mother of James and John asked for a special place for her sons. Jesus could have become indignant at her presumption, but He didn’t. He gave them the truth of the matter without shaming them. The other ten disciples took offense for Him. Yet Jesus didn’t even let that stand. He KNEW ALL their hearts and probably could tell that some of them were angry because they hadn’t thought to ask first but also relieved because of how it ended. THIS was the moment He set up the RIGHT order for His church. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26b-27).
This is the upside-down order Jesus not only established but lived. “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
The “lowly in spirit” are not those who cower at every challenge, are afraid to speak or be seen, or those who lay themselves down to be trampled by anyone who would pass by. Instead, they demonstrate love for their fellow believers by serving where ever there is a need, take on challenging tasks when called upon or when their skills match such tasks, and do not seek personal gain or recognition for their efforts. No task is to menial for them, as their efforts are put into helping the body of Christ.
They shine outside the body of Christ too. Their attitudes of love don’t stop at the church door. They care about their neighbors and those they cross paths with. They help where they can and offer a smile when they don’t have the skill. They do not look for recognition or elevation in authority. But when it is given, they treat it with all the respect due and continue to serve in whatever role they occupy. Not a self-serving service but one dedicated to letting God’s light shine through all they do.
We all know what happens to prideful people. At some point, they fall from their pedestal. NO ONE can live up to the estimation of everyone all the time. When trying to do so you will eventually lose in the eyes of some, and eventually in the eyes of all if you try and maintain that ‘high’ place.
Dictionary.com defines pride as:
- a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
- the state or feeling of being proud.
- a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
- pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
I can’t say that I want to be an example for any of these definitions but if forced to choose one, I’ll take number 4. I want whatever I do, to be done well. “Pride in a job well done” is the kind of ‘pride’ I can identify with. But even if my ‘job’ doesn’t turn out perfect, the fact that I tried my best is enough for me; especially when it is done to the glory of God!
Father God, thank You for letting me be part of the work You are doing in this world. I may never have a super important role and that’s MORE THAN FINE with me. I simply want to have all I do reflect You and Your love. Keep me from stepping into the sin of pride. I NEVER want to be put or climb onto a place where I stand before the world and try and please them on my own. If I ever am in a place of recognition, PLEASE accept ALL the glory for the work You have done in me. For the stories You have given me and the things You have shared with me that I can share with others, THANK YOU! For these are Your gifts to give; not my own.