by: Pastor Josh Harbin
This past Sunday I preached on humility and how it plays such an important role in the Christian life, especially as we begin to use our gifts of faith in the church (see Romans 12:1-8).
I touched on the idea that pride could be hidden in our lives. Most of the time when I think about pride my mind immediately moves to thinking more of my self than I should. However, what if pride could also be rooted in thinking too little of oneself?
At many points in my life, I have allowed self-loathing thoughts to creep into my mind and wreak havoc. These thoughts include, but are not limited to: “These people don’t need me, they are just fine the way they are”, “I just have accepted that I can’t…and I’m ok with that”, “I’m fine on my own”, “No one understands”, “There is no sense in trying to do it again, I don’t need that kind of pain in my life”. There have been days that I was so worried about whether or not people thought I was enough, that I just wanted to stay in bed. These thoughts have been painful, and have even lead to depression.
How are these thoughts prideful though? I am certainly NOT thinking more highly of myself. In fact, I’m thinking just the opposite. I am thinking LESS of myself. But is that the point of humility?
The Rule of Opposites
You see, I think we often over-simplify life and follow the rule of opposites. For example, the antonym of kindness is mean-spirited, therefore if kindness is helping someone across the street, then tackling them to the curb would be mean. Right? UNLESS you were saving them from being hit by an oncoming car.
Same with pride, we often think that in order to combat pride (thinking more highly of ourselves) we should do the opposite (think less of ourselves). Now while this may seem like a good idea on the surface, it is predominately unhealthy. C.S. Lewis, in his book “The Screwtape Letters”, reminds us that this type of thinking is often the starting point for a more pride-filled life, “Self-contempt can be made the starting-point for contempt of other selves, and thus for gloom, cynicism, and cruelty.”
Pride hides in the shadows of self-contempt. This inward turning is not only unhealthy; it is sin against God. We were not created to worship ourselves; we were made to worship God. To do anything other than our intended purpose is against the creator’s plan. Our hearts are “idol factories” and they are always seeking something to idolize. When we become self-deprecating, self-loathing, or even generally inwardly focused, we begin the process of making an idol of self.
Worship is the Antidote.
Scripture calls us to idolize Christ (Exodus 20:3-5). He is worthy of our idolization (Psalm 145:3). God worship is the antidote to our desire problem. Pastor Louie Giglio states that “Worship is our response both personal and corporate, to God for who He is and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live”. The worship of God should be the sound track of our lives. We live, eat, breathe, sleep, work, and play for something every day, and that something is Jesus Christ. We find our value and our worth in him (Gen. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Worship isn’t just something we do (like singing); it’s a posture we have. In every activity we engage in we must be fully submitted to Christ. This posture is total dependence on God, seeing every moment as a gift from above. There is no room for self-loathing in from a position of sold out God-worship. Self-pride and worship of God cannot co-exist; one always trumps the other.
Our worship of God is magnified by the reality that Christ died for our pride. God did not want to be separated from us. He knew that our self-critical, self-deprecating, self-exalting, self-focused souls needed renewal. He knows that we will never find joy by looking inward, but gave us a way to look upward. But first, Christ would take all of our pride upon himself, and carry it to the cross, dying with the weight of our sin on him. This act of love is the representation of true humility. It is now by the blessing of the Holy Spirit that our minds can be renewed, our boasting can turn to the cross, and our joy can be found in Christ. God is the author of all good things, and He loved and valued us so much that he calls us his sons and daughters. We are made in the image of the most high God. As beloved creatures of an almighty God, we have access to forgiveness and glory through the cross. Christ died for your hidden pride. Lay it down and recognize your value.
Meditate this week: Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Sing to Lord this week: Find a quiet place and sing to the Lord the song of your heart. Don’t think about anyone but him. Give it all you got!
Pray & Remember this week: Remember that Christ died for your pride. He died so that your pride could never separate you from God. Get on your knees and spend time thanking God for this mercy that you get to live out.
Share this week: When God is doing something in your heart, don’t hide it. Find someone to share it with this week. Strike up a conversation with a co-worker, a friend, a teammate, or even a stranger. Let your love for Christ pour out fearlessly. He is why we live. To God be the glory!