Less and Less (Proverbs 29:23)

A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 29:23

It is no accident that the center of the English word “pride” is “I.” The prideful person is all about him- or her-self. The Bible has much to say on the subject of pride and the prideful person and not one word of it is good for the prideful. Pride is the first sin in just about every sense of the thought. It is the sin committed by Satan. It is the sin committed by Adam and Eve. And it is the sin that begets all others, for pride is what sets up someone else — namely, myself — on the throne that rightly belongs to God and violates the commandment.

Some weeks ago, God brought me to a verse that reminded me about being humble. This morning, He has done so again. Interestingly, I do not recall any positive on the previous verse, only that I should not be proud and that I cannot remember ever intentionally being humble. For me, being humble is a by-product of having the right focus and following through on it. The notion in my mind is that humility is not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less. That is probably a quote or paraphrase from Lewis or Chesterton or some other person better with words than I am.

Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was. If a man could only get one commandment right, what would it be? Jesus told that man that the most important command is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If I love God the way I am supposed to, then there is no room for pride. My eyes are locked on Someone not me — I am looking for ways to please God. And if my entire being is focused on the task of loving God as He deserves (a task that requires more of everything than I have within me), then there is none left over to be concerned about me. Jesus followed that up with the second most important command which is to love my neighbor as I love myself. I won’t get into how that love would play out if I actually obeyed — Lewis does a fine job of it in Mere Christianity — but will point out that to obey that command would consume whatever heart, soul, mind, and strength I had leftover after loving God with all of them. Suffice to say, Jesus’ cure for pride is to get my eyes off of myself and turn them on God first, then those around me.

Let me, this morning, resolve to get my eyes off myself and onto God.

Father, thank You for loving me despite my foolish pride. Thank You for loving enough that You will not allow it to stand. Please enable me to take my eyes off of myself today and to keep them fixed steadily on You.

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