Andrew Murray, prolific Christian author, said the #1 characteristic that all Christians should be known by is humility. So what does God say about humility? We may be surprised about some biblical aspects of humility. For instance, humility is not "head down" or "tail between legs." This sermon series is meant to provide a chance to renew our minds according to what the Word of God says about humility.
Humility & Pride
Part 2: Humility vs. Pride
Saint Augustine said "It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels." Lucifer's fall from Heaven was predicated by pride. Our salvation (receiving God's grace) is preceded by humility. Pride is the desire to be in control, which is to be "as God" over our own lives. But humility is the enemy of pride! Humility is beautiful, protective, and powerful.
Part 3: Humility Will Not Leave You Behind
Humility will not leave you behind in life – it will actually propel you forward, as it will invoke the grace of God, for “God resists the proud but gives Grace to the humble” (James 4:6, 1Pet. 5:5). True humility is NOT talent denial. False humility is pride in disguise. Humility is the original design for our hearts; pride is the intruder. True humility simply sees yourself accurately. Pride is pure deception - it believes that this world is all about "me!" We are often so worried about protecting and promoting ourselves that we don't care for others. We think "if I don't take care of myself, who will?" God says "just love them and I will take care of you."
Part 4: Pictures of Humility and Pride
There are two main ways that we can cultivate humility: directly through studying and cultivating humility itself, or, indirectly, through understanding and resisting pride. Humility is the absence of pride. Pride and humility are both mirrors - they reflect how we view ourselves and the world around us. Pride is self-made and self-focused. A picture of humility is "us in a crowd." Contrary to that, all pride sees is itself. Humility is acutely circumspect. Pride is acutely self-absorbed. Humility does not have anything to prove, only someone to please. Humility does "the best I can with what I have!"
Part 5: Self-Confidence vs. God-Confidence
Having a model is a key to learning humility. There is no greater model than our Lord, as He came not for His own glory but to do the will of the Father. Despite His Deity, Jesus "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men." Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to The Father - even to the point of dying on the cross. As with Jesus, when we give ourselves entirely to God, we move from self-confidence to God-confidence.
Part 6: A Review of the Series So Far
Pride is the inverse - the antithesis - of humility. It is literally evil and demonic. Humility on the other hand, is the nature of God and the very atmosphere of Heaven. Humility is not concerned with itself at all because it has put itself into God's hands. Humility isn't about thinking less of ourselves, but rather thinking of ourselves less. Pride is self-seeking. Humility is God-seeking. Pride is independent. Humility is inter-dependent. In John 15:5, Jesus says "without me, you can do nothing." Phil. 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." We can do anything and everything so long as we are walking in humility - dependency on God!
Part 7: The Various Forms of Pride
Humility is the atmosphere of our heart that will invite the presence of God like nothing else! The pride of man, on the other hand, has produced every argument, war, murder, and rape that have ever taken place in the human race. ONLY pride causes contention. The pride of man is the nature of the devil. Love, on the other hand, always flows with humility. Humility cannot be separated form love. Humility is also a place of rest. There are multiple manifestations of pride; here are a few of its various forms: 1. Pride always wants to exalt itself. 2. Pride is not interested in others, only in self. 3. Pride always tries to be "different." 4. Pride does not want to be taught or corrected; it only wants to teach and correct others, always being right.
Part 8: Leaving Space for Grace
When we understand humility, we will value it, and when we value humility, we will pursue it. Every single time we step into pride, we just lost an opportunity for grace. We would see the goodness of God in our lives more frequently – on a daily basis – if we would make the decision to throw off that which God hates (pride) and embrace that which brings the very gaze of God (humility)! Humility is a lightning rod to attract the grace of God, and a radical blessing to all who possess it! Humility = Liberation. Pride = Bondage. Humility = Rest and Blessed. Pride = Stress and a Mess. God wants to exalt us, but we have to first make the commitment to humility. Choose today to leave "space for grace" - choose humility!
Part 9: Renewing Our Mind to Humility
We are transformed when we change our thinking according to the Word of God. Hearing, seeing, and studying a scriptural truth in a repetitious way exponentially increases our absorption of that truth. Trials will actually come because of the Word that we have received (Mark 4), so we must know for a fact "that's what the Word says!" That assurance comes by revelation and the revelation comes through meditation - reading and studying the Word about a particular truth. As we study the Word on a particular topic, we begin to incorporate more of the facets of that truth into our mindset. (See attached image "The Mindset of Humility" below for some of the facets of the truth of humility). Comparison is a major stumbling block that comes with pride. God, however, is the great equalizer - more gifts come with more responsibility. In our thinking we tend to compare people with us based on the gifts they have, but God looks at how we use the gifts we have.
Part 10: The Humble Person Serves
All the gifts we have are from God, and with every gift comes with an equal responsibility. Notice that in the parable of the talents (Mt. 25:14-30), the faithful servants had been faithful in proportion to their gifting. Jesus called both the man who earned 2 talents and the man who earned 5 talents faithful. Despite this, we often compare ourselves amongst ourselves, which is not wise! True humility, on the other hand, doesn’t compare at all. True humility knows that we are nothing apart from Him, but we are never apart from Him! The humble person serves others. Humility allows "he who is greatest among you" to be "as the younger, and he who governs to be as he who serves." (Lk. 22:26)