God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.James 4:6 NASB
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?Micah 6:8 NKJV
Not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the LordColossians 3:22
We are learning how to play to an audience of One. Even so, humility is not only devotional but also relational. It is done in the fear of God but is expressed toward men. Do I unconsciously feel better about myself by finding fault in others? Do I humorously or other- wise put others down? Do I find it difficult to admit I was wrong or ask somebody for their forgiveness? Do I justify myself and rationalize my behaviour? Do I compete for position or recognition? Do I suffer from feelings of envy or jealousy and find it difficult to praise another person? Do I experience an inner resistance when being counselled, corrected, or instructed? Do I have difficulty in receiving from others? Just a few of the symptoms of pride!
I recall vividly the inner struggle I experienced when starting out in ministry as my closest friend was promoted and favoured over me. Every Sunday when he led the worship or preached was for me an exercise of holiness and of humbling my heart as I struggled with feelings of jealousy until I was free.
The spirit of pride is the root cause of spiritual decline:
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling
Proverbs 16:18 NASB
It was historically the cause of the church’s fall—causing it to stumble from the ways of God into politics and power. Therefore, the church’s recovery will be in the opposite spirit—in the spirit of humility:
A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honour
Proverbs 29:23 NASB
The wisdom writer understood the source of all life’s problems— our heart. He exhorts:
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life
Proverbs 4:23 NASB
Church, let us learn the lesson and bow our hearts before “the Father of spirits,” who through His moulding touch disciplines us so that we might share His holiness (see Hebrews 12:5-12). Our dealings with the Father are to one end—that He might so mould our spirits, our motives, attitudes, and affections that we might commune with His heart and nature. Father come, breathe upon us and break our hearts!
John Bunyan said that, “When you pray, rather let your heart be with- out words than your words without heart.” So let’s camp here a moment. Let this be a selah time as we dwell on these words penned by John Donne five centuries ago. Let us feel the pathos of this cry as we pray:
Batter my heart, three-person’ d God; for you
As yet but knock, breath, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurp’ d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’ d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Read or give as a gift:
Snakes in the Temple: Unmasking Idolotry in Today’s Church (Amazon)
Koorong Books (Australia & NZ)