Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Put on Humility: The Antidote to Pride

You are here

Put on Humility

The Antidote to Pride

MP3 Audio (31.46 MB)


Put on Humility: The Antidote to Pride

MP3 Audio (31.46 MB)

Many scriptures tell us we should... "seek humility"... "clothe our self with humility" ... "humble our self before God". These point us toward the goal but not necessarily the methods we use to get there. What does humbling myself look like?

Sermon Notes

Humble Your Self: The Antidote to Pride

Pride is a way of thinking which leads to bad results:

  1. Pride is a source of tension with our fellow human beings
  2. Pride puts us in conflict with the living God
  3. Pride leads us into temptation and sin
  4. Pride tricks us into leaving the pathway to eternal life

Unless it is your goal to actively reject God's gift of eternal life you should be engaged in a spiritual battle with pride. To spin it from the other direction you should be actively seeking to develop humility. Our goal is not only to empty our self of proud thinking and proud action... but to fill that empty space with a spirit of humility… and the works of humility.

Many scriptures  tell us we should... "seek humility"... "clothe our self with humility" ... "humble our self before God". These point us toward the goal but not necessarily the methods we use to get there. What does humbling myself look like?

Today we will investigate 5 ways we can put on humility... Plus, as a bonus we'll end with a review of the emotional, psychological, and spiritual benefits of humility… but before we get to our 5 points let’s consider this guiding light:

Christ is Your Example

Our goal is to put on the mind of Christ... to think like God... which should lead us to act like Him.

Does God set an example of humility? After all … He is supreme, creator and sustainer of all, He will not give His glory to any other... does it make sense to even think of God as humble?

YES! Through Jesus Christ that we are given insight and understanding into how humility is part of God's character.

Philippians 2:1-8 Philippians 2:1-8 [1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
American King James Version×
 - On the one hand here are the most exalted of claims concerning Christ… yet on the other hand we have an example of the greatest humility. These statements of His magnificence and glory are not examples of pride since they are merely statements of objective truth... they are not exaggerated, puffed up, or delusional. They are simply the way it is.

Yet, we also see Jesus humbling Himself and becoming like one of us...  elsewhere He tells us "if you have seen and experienced Me, you have seen and experienced the Father". Although He is magnificent, glorious, and above all others... God is humble… the Father & the Son.

How Do We Follow His Example?

We begin following Christ’s example through recognizing and publicly acknowledging the truth... a true evaluation of our self... the truth about the reality of our sin... our inadequacy to attain anything lasting without God's grace... the truth about how we stack up in comparison to Christ.

But pride is a liar and won’t easily let us go... How do we resist?

1. Obedience

Deuteronomy 8:2 Deuteronomy 8:2And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or no.
American King James Version×
 trusting the wisdom of God over your own is where we begin.

Matthew 18:2-4 the example of the humble child is built on the core concept of trust.

Obedience alone leaves us with a mechanical, robotic view of life and relationships. So, let's build on the firm foundation of obedience to God's law with some other attributes.

2. Thankfulness, Gratitude, Praise, and Worship

Give God credit for the goodness in your life. If you constantly offer thanks and gratitude to Him its much harder to see yourself as self reliant.

  1. Caveat: this does not mean God does not respect and reward hard work and effort... this does not mean that those who give God no credit will not also be blessed... God says He “causes life giving rain to fall on the just and the unjust".
  2. Our praise must be genuine or else we are hypocrites indulging in spiritual pride.
  3. Galatians 6:14 Christ's sacrifice epitomizes the good that God renders to you even though you don't deserve it
  4. Not rendering due credit leads human beings into darkness, confusion, and actively removing themselves from the path to everlasting life Romans 1:20-21 
  5. Fasting is a time also set aside for thankfulness and praise. To deliberately afflict your flesh through denial of food and water quickly reminds us we are not self sufficient... that we are weak and dependant. But in addition it is a time when distractions are removed... a time set aside for worship, for reflection on God's perfection, His dominion over all, His role in creating and sustaining life.  
  6. Praise and thankfulness also build up faith... another way of thinking which is the opposite of  pride. To trust in God rather than trusting in our self.
3. Take on the Role of a Servant

Choosing to assume the role of servant to others develops humility as a natural by-product.

  1. John 5:44 John 5:44How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?
    American King James Version×
     much of what we choose to do or not do is driven by a desire to receive praise from other human beings... so we seek what is elevated... what is esteemed by other people... and we miss out on the praise of God.
    1. Seek the praise of men and you have your reward… which is a puff of wind… seek the praise of God and you have great and lasting reward ahead of you.
  2. 1 Peter 5:6 1 Peter 5:6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
    American King James Version×
     to humble yourself is an active choice

Consider the Passover - Jesus and the disciples had gathered together... all the preparations had been made... they started the meal... the disciples got into a conversation speculating about what the kingdom would be like... including which of them would be the most important... but all the while there was something left undone... a custom of the time... washing the feet of those come to dine.

Would any of them... men chosen and destined for great positions in the Kingdom of God... wash the feet of the others? Or would that lower them in the eyes of others? 

Jesus addressed their wrong-headed approach to position and authority in the kingdom... He told them "that's not the way"... but then he picked up a basin of water and a towel and He showed them the difference... He did what each of them seemed unwilling to do… He washed their feet.

Serving in ways that everyone wants to do is not what humility is all about. Some tasks no one else is interested in doing? Will you take out the garbage after Church? Or sweep up after everyone else is gone? Are you willing to serve your wife and children? Are you ready to serve others at work?

Jesus gave up His rightful prerogative as an equal of God to become one of us... not a king over some important nation [which would have been quite a step down for Him]. Jesus became a nobody and He served your interests through His life and through His death.

Can you deliberately choose to serve others... to treat them as superior to yourself... even if they are not? Can you forgive the arrogant offender... pick up after the careless... give to the ungrateful?

You can when you have the love of God in your heart.

4. Pursue Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 [4] Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, [5] Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; [6] Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; [7] Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
American King James Version×
 this description of love is everything that pride is not.

Love strong enough to make you into a willing servant is not built into human beings. This type of love must be pursued and sought out. You can choose to take up the role of servant... the mind of gratitude.... even if you don't feel like it.

Godly love is to choose to love. This element of choice is perhaps closer to the love of Christ. He did not feel like being crucified... He chose.

There are times when God in His knowledge of what it takes to lead each of us closer to the fullness of Christ may reach us and teach us through suffering.

5. Suffering: A Gift From God to Produce a Humble Spirit

Many of the Hebrew words used to depict humility come from root words like: crushed, bruised, broken, chastened… and imply a linkage between humility and suffering.

Suffering is not unique to God’s chosen, suffering part of the human condition... I do not know if followers of Christ suffer more than the average person... or if they are protected and suffer less than the average person. The real  difference is not found in the statistics... the difference is found in perspective. Those who know and trust God discern purpose... achievement...and victory in suffering.

 Paul spoke of his physical suffering as an antidote to pride : 2 Corinthians 11:30 2 Corinthians 11:30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my infirmities.
American King James Version×
 [refer to 11:16 -12:10], 2 Corinthians 12:5-7

Hebrews 5:8 Hebrews 5:8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
American King James Version×
tells us Jesus learned through His own human suffering

If you are hard-pressed by sickness, lack of money, persecution, emotional distress… take confidence... God is working on you and with you. His great purpose is to tame the human spirit within you which so easily leans towards pride, stubbornness, and arrogance.

The humility He is training you in is not weakness... it is a way in which the strength of the human spirit which is: wild, creative, and free... is harnessed... no longer chaotic and destructive but purposeful, and peaceable.

Bonus: 7 Emotional & Spiritual Benefits of Humility
  1. A lifting up … Matthew 23:12 Matthew 23:12And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
    American King James Version×
     those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted… to be seated next to Christ is exaltation in humility.
  2. God's approval, favor, and honor … Psalms 138:6 Psalms 138:6Though the LORD be high, yet has he respect to the lowly: but the proud he knows afar off.
    American King James Version×
     Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;  though lofty, he sees them from afar, Proverbs 15:33 Proverbs 15:33The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
    American King James Version×
     Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor. Isaiah 66:2 Isaiah 66:2For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
    American King James Version×
     These are the ones I look on with favor:  those who are humble and contrite in spirit,  and who tremble at my word.
  3. God's presence … Isaiah 57:15 Isaiah 57:15For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
    American King James Version×
     For this is what the high and exalted One says—   he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place,  but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly  and to revive the heart of the contrite.
  4. God's mercy and salvation Luke 18:13-14 Luke 18:13-14 [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
    American King James Version×
     But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
  5. Peace & Rest … Psalms 131:1-2 Psalms 131:1-2 [1] Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. [2] Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
    American King James Version×
     My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother;  like a weaned child I am content. Matthew 11:29 Matthew 11:29Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
    American King James Version×
     Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  6. Guidance & Wisdom … Proverbs 11:2 Proverbs 11:2When pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
    American King James Version×
    When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them.
  7. Joy … Isaiah 29:19 Isaiah 29:19The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
    American King James Version×
    the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel

Pride is a way of thinking that gets you out of whack with reality... it is a source of conflict, strife and leads ultimately to death. Empty yourself of pride and fill up that empty space with obedience, gratitude, service, love, and accept the discipline of God which comes through suffering. All of these are various ways to express and experience humility.

Reap the benefits of humility which are many... and they will give true and lasting satisfaction and contentment to your whole being.

You might also be interested in....