Humility - The Worthy Life - Part II
June 10, 2007
"What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as
though it were not a gift?”
1 Corinthians 4:7
1. Humility. Everyone knows that Christians should be humble. Humility is the opposite of pride or self-assertion. If we are saved “by grace … through faith … not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9), it is evident that Christians cannot be proud. We are to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility are to consider others better than ourselves,” as Paul says in Philippians 2:3.
2. But it is not easy to do, because our pride is easily wounded by what we consider thoughtless or unfair conduct by others. Today let us look at what it means to have all humility.
3. Humility (Tapeinophrosunē) is a compound word in the Greek that literally means to think or judge with lowliness, and hence to have lowliness of mind.
4. Pride comes in many forms. We may be tempted to be proud of our abilities, our possessions, our education, our social status, our appearance, our power, and even our biblical knowledge or religious accomplishments. But throughout Scripture the Lord calls His people to humility. “ Before honor comes humility ” (Prov. 15:33); “ The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life ” (22:4); “ Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips ” (27:2).
5. Although humility is at the heart of Christian character, no virtue is more foreign to the world’s ways and for the most part humility has been looked on as weakness and impotence, something ignoble to be despised.
6. The first sin was pride, and every sin after that has been in some way an extension of pride. Pride led the angel Lucifer to exalt himself above his Creator and Lord. Because the bright “ star of the morning ” continually said, “ I will, I will, I will ” in opposition to God’s will, he was cast out of heaven (Isa. 14:12–23). Because he said, “ I am a god, ” the Lord cast him “ from the mountain of God ” (Ezek. 28:11–19).
7. Isaiah warned, “ The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day ” (Isa. 2:11 ; cf. 3:16–26). “ Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one, ” God declared against Babylon, “ For your day has come, the time when I shall punish you. And the arrogant one will stumble and fall with no one to raise him up ” (Jer. 50:31–32).
8. The last chapter of the Old Testament begins, “ For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff ” (Mal. 4:1). The Beatitudes begin with “ Blessed are the poor in spirit ” (Matt. 5:3), and James assures us that “ God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble ” (James 4:6 ; cf. Ps. 138:6).
9. Pride is the supreme temptation from Satan, because pride is at the heart of his own evil nature. Consequently, Satan makes sure that the Christian is never entirely free from the temptation of pride. We will always be in a battle with pride until the Lord takes us to be with Himself.
10. Our only protection against pride, and our only source of humility, is a proper view of God. Pride is the sin of competing with God, and humility is the virtue of submitting to His supreme glory.
“The more godly a man is, and the more graces and blessings of God are upon him, the more need he hath to pray, because Satan is busiest against him, and because he is readiest to be puffed up with a conceited holiness.”
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050