How to Be Humble, Part 2

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This week we are looking at Philippians 2:1-11. Monday we talked about the importance of living a humble life. Today we're going to talk specifically about pride. Pride is the antonym, the opposite, of humility. What is pride? Why is it bad? Let's start by reviewing our definitions.

What do “pride” and “humility” mean?

  • Humiliation – to be made fun of or embarrassed
  • Humility – to not think you are better than others
  • Good Pride – to thank God for the ways He’s gifted you and blessed you (1 Corinthians 1)
  • Bad Pride – to think you’re better than other people (You’re not better, you’re just different. 1 Corinthians 12)

A Good Kind of Pride

Look at the examples below. Which ones describe good pride and which ones describe bad pride? How do you know? Example 1:
Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. Psalm 20:7 (NASB)
Example 2 (Compare this to 2 Corinthians 11:21-29.)
If I must boast, I will boast about the things that show I am weak. God knows that I am not lying. He is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, and he is to be praised forever. 2 Corinthians 11:30-31 (ERV)

A Bad Kind of Pride

Pride is thinking you are better than everyone else. Let's look at some cautionary stories of real people who struggled with pride. For each example, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Why was this person prideful?
  2. How did this person show his or her pride?
  3. What happened as a result?
Adam and Eve God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree in the middle of the Garden or they would die. Look at what happened.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV)
The People of Babel We talked about the sin of Babel in this post. What was so bad about their plan to build a tall tower? Lucifer Lucifer is another name for Satan. Cartoons and other pictures of Satan usually show a scary, red man with horns, a tail, and a pitchfork. This is not how the Bible describes him. Lucifer's name means the "bearer of light." This is especially important when we think about how the Bible uses light and darkness to talk about good and evil. Satan, Lucifer, actually started out as one of God's perfect, good angels. Look what happened.

You were like the morning star, but you have fallen from the sky. In the past, all the nations on earth bowed down before you, but now you have been cut down. You always told yourself, “I will go to the skies above. I will put my throne above God’s stars. I will sit on Zaphon, the holy mountain where the gods meet. I will go up to the altar above the tops of the clouds. I will be like God Most High.”

But that did not happen. You were brought down to the deep pit—Sheol, the place of death.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (ESV)

Lucifer, Satan, thought he could be like God or even better than God. He still thinks this. That is why Satan is an enemy to the light, to good and the things of God. The good news is that we know God is greater. God will defeat Satan and punish him forever when this world draws to a close (Revelation 20-22).

Some of the angels didn’t stay where they belonged. They didn’t keep their positions of authority. The Lord has kept those angels in darkness. They are held by chains that last forever. On judgment day, God will judge them.

Jude 6 (NIRV)

God did not spare angels when they sinned. Instead, he sent them to hell. He chained them up in dark prisons. He will keep them there until he judges them.

2 Peter 2:4 (NIRV)

What should we do instead?

God is all things good, perfect, and holy. Lucifer, Satan, is the opposite. He is full of pride. How can we avoid being like him?
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)
How do we do that?
As you deal with one another, you should think and act as Jesus did.

In his very nature he was God. Jesus was equal with God. But Jesus didn’t take advantage of that fact.

Philippians 2:5-6 (NIRV)

If anyone had a good reason to be proud, it was Jesus. He is God. He is perfect in every way. But what attitude did Jesus have instead of pride? How do you know? Jesus is the example we should follow.

How to Fix Pride

  1. Realize that you're not God. You can't fix everything. You can't change other people. You're not greater or better than everyone else. You're not God (Psalm 8:3-4).
  2. Realize that you're not perfect. No one is (Romans 3:23). You are in the same boat as everyone else. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses. No one is good at everything, including you (1 Corinthians 12:4-26).
  3. Pray, talking to God. Confess your pride to Him. That means you tell God that you agree that pride is bad. You agree with God that you have the bad kind of pride. You ask God to forgive you and help you to live humbly, rather than pridefully.
  4. Look for ways to boast (take pride in) the things God has done rather than yourself or things you've done.
Remember that this life is not a competitive race, trying to be better than those around you. The race is really against yourself. Will you faithfully and humbly live for Christ for your whole life?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
If you're thinking about resolutions or goals for the New Year, why not ask God to show you and take away any pride and help you live faithfully and humbly for Him.
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