JAMES 4:5–6 – Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
THEME OF THE DAY: SLAYING THE BEAST OF PRIDE. It is the most unattractive trait in the Christian life. It makes us more like the devil than the Lord. It ruins relationships. It splits churches. It quenches the work of the Spirit in a believer and church. It is so deceptive with many manifestations. It is the mother of all sin. And today’s scripture informs us God opposes it, even when it is found in His children. This “it” is pride defined as “having an unwarranted sense of self-importance with a spirit of arrogance and independence.” And that could be expanded to what Wayne Mack calls “self-idolatry.”
When it comes to the sin of pride, it is every Christian’s battle because it is still alive and well in our lives. It is a daily battle that must be fought and won because, if lost, great damage occurs in lives, and primarily in our relationships.
One of the great aspects of this fierce battle is that pride is so natural to us that it may become an unrecognized part of who we are, even an “acceptable sin” but in the Bible, it is condemned with force. Charles Spurgeon explained “There is nothing into which the heart of man so easily falls as pride, and yet there is no vice which is more frequently, and emphatically, and more eloquently condemned in scripture.” Referring again to Wayne Mack, in his book, Humility, the Lost Virtue, he wrote, “If we know our hearts, we know they are prone to pride because pride is natural. Humility is supernational.”
So how do we wage successful war against pride? By focusing on the development of its opposite – humility. Allow me to offer two patterns of thinking we are to strive for in the pursuit of pride-killing humility. And yes, like all areas in our Christian life, how we think determines how we speak and live – For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7a).
First, humility blossoms in the heart of Christians who never forgot what they were before Christ. The greatest Christian ever to live didn’t; the Apostle Paul – I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:12-16). Remembering what we were before God saved us fosters humility as we remember the ugliness of our hearts enslaved to sin, particularly pride. It also humbles us when we realize God did not owe us salvation. He could have left us in our sins to receive the just punishment for them. Now that develops a humble heart!
The second way for the Spirit’s work of humility to grow in our hearts and suppress pride is to remember what we are. And what we are is all of grace. There are no self-made men and women. The Apostle Paul never forgot what he was, and he also never forgot his present condition – all of grace – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). Everything we have and everything we are come all of God’s sovereign grace. To believe and live that truth ensures pride will not get the upper hand in our lives.
PRAYER: “Father, may I learn to suppress the one thing that hinders the flow of Your grace in my life – pride.”
QUOTE: “God will oppose the prideful person, even His child because He knows pride’s destructive power.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,