“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6b (NKJV)
One of our favorite family one-liners, when we catch ourselves sounding a bit less than humble, is this: “Have you read my book, ‘My Humility And How I Attained It?'”
When I was growing up in suburban Milwaukee, WI, there was an empty lot next door. Eventually, this was purchased by a family and a house was built. The family who lived there was not readily accepted by the other neighbors living on our street primarily because “Mrs. R” was always bragging about how much bigger her house was, how successful her husband’s television repair shop was, how much money they had, and how brilliant her children were. This attitude spawned a saying of my father’s invention: “She struts when she sits.”
I am keenly aware lately how much pride is infused into everything we do–even as Christians. We are proud of our sports teams, proud of our schools and colleges, proud of our houses, our cars, our kids, our jobs, our education, our ethnic background, even our pastors, theology, and denominations. You name it, we’re proud of it.
It is no wonder our culture and country are such a mess. It’s often difficult to tell the Christians from the non-Christians by how we act and speak. We listen to the same music, watch the same movies and television shows, read the same books, use the same language, and go to the same events. We get so caught up, we don’t take time to examine whether what we are doing pleases the Lord or is even fitting behavior for ambassadors of the King of Kings.
Like “Mrs. R,” our lives have become a never-ending strut of pride. Of course, we don’t call it that. We use affable sounding words like “self-esteem” and “being proud of ourselves.” We “deserve” those blessings which have come our way because we worked harder, were more talented, smarter, or more “special” than others. It is no wonder God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Pride is ugly–in all its various forms.
As for me, I need to constantly keep a guard on my attitude and mouth, reminding myself Who is the Giver and Sustainer of my life. All good things flow from His Hand and He graciously allows me to share in them. I didn’t earn them, I certainly don’t deserve them, and I have no right to be proud of anything He freely gives me.
As I look around me at the Church, our country, and our culture, I have to wonder, what are we so proud of?
A bit of humility would go a long way. . .
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5: 6 (NKJV)
Copyright © 2015 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved