Have you ever had problems with pride?
Do you ever think of yourself as a humble person?
Arrogance is such a heavy bag we carry from time to time.
Humility is such an elusive virtue. Once you think you have it you just lost it. You’ve heard of the story of the boy who received the “Most Humble” badge and had it taken away because he wore it.
Famous book author Max Lucado in his book entitled: “Travelling Light” says: “God hates arrogance. He hates arrogance because we haven’t done anything to be arrogant about. Do art critics give awards to the canvass? Is there a Pulitzer Prize for ink? Can you imagine a scalpel growing smug after a successful heart transplant? Of course not. They are only tools, so they get no credit for the accomplishments.
And the message of the 23rd Psalm or better known as the Shepherd’s Psalm is that we have nothing to be proud of either. WE have rest, salvation, blessings and a home in heaven – and we did nothing to earn any of it.
Who did? Who did the work?
The answer threads through the Psalm like a silk thread through pearls:
He makes me
He leads me
He restores my soul
You are with me
Your rod and Your staff…comfort me
You prepare a table
You anoint my head
We may be the canvass, the paper or the scalpel but we are not the ones who deserve the applause. And just to make sure that we got the point, right smack in the middle of the poem, David declares who does. The shepherd leads his sheep, not for our name’s sake, but for “His Name’s sake.”
No other name on the marquee, No other name up in lights.
Does God have an ego problem? No but we do.
How to prevent pride from infecting us? Lucado suggests the following and I will add a few commentaries of my own.
I. Assess yourself honestly. Humility isn’t the same as low self-esteem.
Being humble doesn’t mean you think you have nothing to offer; it means you know exactly what you have to offer and no more.
2. Don’t take success too seriously Scripture gives this warning: “When your . . . silver and gold increase, your heart will become proud.” Counteract this pride with reminders of the brevity of fife and the frailty of wealth.
Ponder your success and count your money in a cemetery and remember that neither of the two is buried with you. “People come into this world with nothing, and when they die they leave with nothing.”
I remember the day the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onasis died the whole business world was asking the same question: “I wonder how much he left behind?” The fact is he left EVERYTHING behind!
3. Celebrate the significance of others. “In humility consider others better than yourselves.” Forget thinking that you are better than everybody else because the truth is you are not. Learn to applaud your teammates and celebrate their success.
4. Don’t demand your own parking place. Demanding respect is like chasing a butterfly Chase it, and you’ll never catch it. Sit still, and it may light on your shoulder.
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal asked, “Do you wish people to speak well of you? Then never speak well of yourself”
Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “Don’t praise yourself Let someone else do it.’
5. Never announce your success before it occurs.
Or as one of the kings of Israel said, “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it of.”
Charles Spurgeon trained many young ministers. On one occasion a student stepped up to preach with great confidence but failed miserably He came down, humbled and meek. Spurgeon told him, “If you had gone up as you came down, you would have to come down as you went up.” If humility precedes an event, then confidence may follow.
6. Speak humbly. Let no arrogance come from your mouth. Don’t be cocky. People aren’t impressed with your opinions.
One last thought to foster humility.
7. Live at the foot of the cross. Paul said, “The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is my only reason for bragging” Do you feel a need for affirmation? Does your self-esteem need attention? You don’t need to drop names or show off You need only pause at the base of the cross and be reminded of this: The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. And that is a fact. So if you need to brag, brag about that.
And check your chin occasionally.