April 11, 2014
The Cure for Pride
By Skip Heitzig
Pride is the cancer of the soul. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it will destroy everything, and especially spiritual life for all eternity. It was pride that caused Lucifer’s fall from heaven. Pride banished Adam from the garden. Pride got Saul removed as the first king of Israel. Pride took Nebuchadnezzar off the throne of Babylon. Pride turns friends into enemies, married couples into divorcees. It ruins relationships, and it dismantles kingdoms and governments.
Dwight L. Moody said, “Be humble or you’ll stumble.” Humility is the cure for pride. It’s the quality Jesus Christ displayed when He left heaven to become a man and give His life for our salvation. Jesus said, “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).
J.I. Packer notes this: In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul said, “I am the least of the apostles.” In Ephesians 3:8 he called himself “less than the least of all the saints.” And in 1 Timothy 1:15 he said he was the worst of all sinners. Since these statements were written, respectively, in AD 59, AD 63, and AD 64, Paul grew downward in humility as time went on.
Philippians 2:1-11 notes two activities that are necessary for all believers: humility (bowing in submission before God) and doxology (rendering worship and praise to God). The healthy spiritual life will have both.
If you want to see humility, says Paul in this passage, look at Jesus. In verse 8, the word “even” points to the fact that Jesus died by the most shameful, embarrassing, and painful method of execution. Why such humility? Why this kind of lowliness of mind? Why this kind of death? Because Jesus Christ was dealing with our greatest need: forgiveness. He humbled Himself to die this horrible death because He loves us.
The result of all the humility that Jesus experienced on earth, of pouring himself out to the last drop, of suffering this excruciating death, is that His Father would honor Him by resurrection, ascension and dominion.
So this is how you ought to treat one another: Humble yourself and be lowly before other people, not prideful. Paul exhorts the believer to be “like-minded,” to “esteem others,” to “look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (vv. 2-4). And the ultimate example of this is Christ, who “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (v. 8).
Here’s the point: If Jesus Christ as Lord humbled Himself, then you should humble yourself. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (v. 5). And if you’re willing to humble yourself, God will be willing to exalt you.
Remember: You’re never more like the devil than when you puff yourself up with pride. But you’re never more like Jesus than when you humble yourself.
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