To varying degrees, we all struggle with pride. We may not always thirst for it, but a drink from the fountain of humility is one we all could use.
Humility is not something we’re born with; it is something we must pursue. Though a virtue, the Bible never mentions humility as a spiritual gift. Even those of us among us who are humble must continually fight against arrogance because you never “arrive” with humility; you are always on the journey. To say it another way, you never graduate from the school of humility; we are always in school. And you can only stay enrolled if you are pursuing humility. Otherwise, pride will have you expelled.
But how do we pursue humility? Below are 7 ways:
1) By meditating on the gospel. We are so loved that Jesus was glad to die for us. But we are so wicked that Jesus had to die for us. By meditating on the finished work of Christ, we realize that we only exist through sheer grace. It’s difficult to think highly of ourselves when we think of the cross.
2) By studying the doctrines of grace. Also known as “Reformed Theology,” I love the doctrines of grace because they are so God-centered. Contrary to misinformed opinions, Calvinism leads to utter humility and worship of God, not arrogance. As Burk Parsons once said, “An arrogant Calvinist is an oxymoron.”
3) By practicing the spiritual disciples. Someone recently asked Andy Mineo, “How do you stay humble in light of all your success?” He said by practicing the spiritual disciplines. He’s absolutely right. Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, service, meditation, etc. We need to purse these regularly. Obvious signs of pride in public are indicative to a weak devotional life in private.
4) By living in community. We all have blind spots. Living in community allows others to speak into our lives, and point out sin we can’t see with our own eyes.
5) By encouraging others. People who struggle with pride the most encourage people the least. Find positive things to say about people, and encourage them often.
6) By asking questions. Unless you are part of the Divine, you don’t know it all. Ask questions to learn more, and doing this reminds yourself you don’t know it all. Prideful people have a difficult time asking questions.
7) By playing golf. I got this idea from C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility. Golf is the only sport that can make a good athlete look like an idiot. And if you’re not an athlete, then you’ll really look like an idiot.
Scripture gives us reasons for humility. Paul asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7) James says every good and perfect gift is from the Father (James 1:17). John says no one can receive not even one thing unless it is given to him from heaven (John 3:27). Scripture is clear: everything that we have is from God.
Everything. Our ambition, intellect, appearance, genetic makeup, opportunities, spiritual gifting, money, blessings. Everything we have is by God and for God. His glory, and our joy. The right understanding of this will lead to the proper response: A heart that desires to glorify God joyfully, boast only in him loudly, and pursue humility continually.
There’s no room for pride in the Christian faith. After all, what do you have that you did not receive?
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