All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Peter 5:5
I listened as the young minister spoke on pride and how important it was to humble ourselves. Pride goeth forth before destruction and all that. But I thought to myself, Loria are you guilty of pride? I had been accused of being humble and had actually begun to believe it. All things considered, folks thought that I could have a bigger ego because of all that’s going on. I could make a list but that would be ego 😉 Suffice to say, God is still blessing me.
But as I heard the words of the young preacher, his trial sermon, he read the definition of pride and suddenly I wasn’t so sure that I came down on the right side of the equation. I had prayed before he even got up to speak that God would let me hear a good word, something I could use or take away and apply to my daily life. God delivered just that. It came to me that I had a sense of entitlement about support I expected to receive from others. When I didn’t get it, I was understandably disappointed. But I realized that I shouldn’t have been. Hope that people will be there for me, yes, but that they owe support to me is another thing. That mindset meant I had a right to feel slighted or angry, even, if they didn’t come through. And as the pastor continued with his sermon, I felt more and more convicted. I knew God was answering my prayer for I needed this lesson in humility.
The message continued to minister to me on the way home. I recalled the scripture that said, God hates a proud heart. Oh! That hurt, but in a good way. I realized that God, being a good Father, was chastening me because he loves me. He wants me to do better. And He also knows that I want to position myself so that I can receive His blessings. My pride could interfere with that, He showed me. I began to ask myself the rhetorical question: What can He do with your proud attitude and sense of entitlement? I say rhetorical because the answer was obvious. Nothing. Not one single thing. The man of God quoted the verse, pride goes before the fall and I knew I didn’t want that to be me. I didn’t want to have to take a tumble to my detriment before I realized my folly. Lord, make me humble before events brings me down low. Don’t let me think more of myself than I ought! We are beautiful to our Creator when he views us through a covering of humility.
But He gives grace to the humble, it then occurred to me. And I knew God was fostering my understanding. This was a warning coupled with a correction. I was not past redemption. Grace, I have heard, is God’s unmerited favor. Yeah, I want more of that. So He has been dealing with me, truly humbling me. I saw that my attitude was all wrong. Gratitude, it seems, is a close cousin of humility – at least, in my estimation. When I became more humble, I began to thank God for all he’d done, concluding that I’d taken him and his blessings for granted in the past. With gratitude came a fresh realization that no one owed me anything. I began to be simply grateful that others had even thought of me. In humility, there is no expectation because whatever is done for you is gain. Therefore, there can be no disappointment because there is no sense of dashed hopes. Now hope in God is a good thing per the Bible, but hope in people will get you in trouble, LOL! Man will let you down. Because we are human we often fall short of everything we’d like to do for others, despite our best efforts.
Pride says, I should have this! And it is the I, as the fledgling preacher pointed out, which is the problem. That ego, again. The devil’s own sin started with rebellion: I shall ascend, he said. He sold us on the benefit of this plan and convinced us to follow suit. Eat the fruit, said he, and you shall be like God. Therein lies the problem.We basically say, I don’t want to wait until you bless me, I want to control my own future. I is the root of the problem. Like wayward children who insist on independence when we don’t even know how the world works, we attempt to wrest control from Him because we are not persuaded that he knows best. The I’s have it.
But there is no surrender in that, and surrender is important. Only when we give up and give it to him can he do anything with it. Ever heard the phrase, too proud to ask for help? If you don’t ask, though, how shall you receive it? We don’t ask even God because we feel we can and we want to do it on our own. We have problems submitting ourselves, bringing ourselves down low, to man and to God. I thought to myself, if Jesus was lowly and humble, never putting himself above anyone but speaking to sinners who the Pharisees thought beneath them – if Jesus could humble himself and make himself lower than his station – who am I to do less? Humility is the way, folks. The young minister concluded his sermon, “Defeat the enemy with your humility.” Simple. If you want more grace, be more humble. Another minister put it like this: We say we want more of God when really, God wants more of us. That may not mean DOING more. Sometimes that means SURRENDERING more.