I was editing an article a writer had submitted to the magazine I work for. Her topic was pride. “At the risk of tempting your pride,” I wrote, “your article is well-written, thought-provoking, and timely. Well done.”
The writer responded in a way that made me nod. “No worries. God does a good job of keeping me humble.”
Isn’t that the truth? I’ve had several skirmishes recently in the war on pride.
A friend dressed me down. Her words were angry and sharp. My first response was to respond in kind, but something checked the words that threatened to fly from my mouth—I realized there was some truth to what she was saying. I was not guiltless, as my righteous indignation first led me to believe. Instead of defending myself, which I really wanted to do, I apologized for my wrongs.
I’ve also been in professional situations that have wounded my pride. My flesh wanted to take my marbles and go home, but the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow me to. He reminded me, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” And then he added the coup de grace: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,” (Mark 10:25).
And finally, I had to choose to love people who’d hurt my heart. I didn’t want to love them; I wanted to punish them. I wanted to withdraw my affection and sulk. I wanted to make them to feel the same sting of neglect I felt.
Fortunately, my devotional reading for the day, “On the Power of Divine Love,” in Thomas a’ Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ didn’t let me.
The disciple to his Lord: “Because I am still weak in love and imperfect in virtue, I need to be comforted and strengthened by you. So you often visit me and instruct me with your holy discipline. Deliver me from evil passions, and cleanse my heart from all unholy desires. May I be healed and thoroughly cleansed within so I may be ready to love, strong to suffer, and steadfast to endure.”
Luke 14:11 reminds us, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
I don’t want to exalt myself; I want God to do it. I don’t want God to resist me; I want him to extend grace. I don’t want to be prideful. I want to be humble.
More than anything else, I want to be like Jesus.
Like my writer friend, I suspect God will have many opportunities to keep me humble. The real success will be when I eagerly embrace the process, instead of fighting against it.
What about you? What challenges make humility especially difficult? What helps you embrace humility and resist pride? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment.