“Far be it from me to glory EXCEPT in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Our outward appearances can often veil our pride. Because pride resides within the heart and not on the face. Pride is subtle; and dangerous like venom. It expresses itself in different forms and in various ways in each person. It can pose itself in the form of religion. Pride might appear humble while never admitting or confessing its own faults. Pride seeks to hide itself at all cost. Pride began in the Garden, when Adam wanted to “be like God” (Genesis 3: 5). Since then everyone has sought to be in control- becoming their own god.
Our insecurities do not reveal our humility; it masks our pride. Boasting is pride expressing itself in the demeanor of strength. When a man boasts, people say: “Such pride!” But the other one is subtle and harder to notice. Low self-esteem can often be pride posing itself in the demeanor of weakness. It can be used as a manipulative way to draw the attention of others on yourselves. It looks weak outwardly; and therefore easily gains the attention of sympathizers. But both low self-esteem and boasting can be subtle expressions of pride.
We would not notice pride in others if we didn’t have it ourselves. The reason we don’t like pride when we see it in others is because it reflects the pride in our own hearts. Pride in people are good revelations of our own hideous pride. And before we can judge others, we must first take the log out of our own eyes, and then we will see clearly to take the speck out of our brother’s eye (Matthew 7: 5). Humility considers others better than oneself.
C. S Lewis said: “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.” Lewis goes on to say: “There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.”
And any of us may at any moment be in this death-trap. Luckily, we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good – above all, that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether. (Lewis)
Humility considers Christ and His glory. True humility is Christ-conscious. It does not feel the need to hide. It opens up before God. According to Lewis, the “first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”
True humility is acknowledging and confessing our pride; and repenting of it each day. The most humble person that ever walked on earth is Jesus. And the one closest to Him is the second most humble person. When pride rears its ugly head in your heart, remember: the Gospel says you are worst than you’d like to think you are (Romans 3: 23). Pride still says: “All have sinned and fallen short, but I’m a better sinner than all.” But true humility says: “I am the chief of all sinners. I have no righteousness of my own apart from Christ.”“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (I Timothy 1: 15).
- Note: (1) C. H. Spurgeon, Pride and Humility, Sermon 97. August 17, 1856.