Human beings have been battling pride since the beginning of time. Eve was the first to fall in the Garden of Eden when she was presented with the temptation of “being equal to God.” That act of rebellion against Almighty God has continued through history leading to unrighteous behavior with tragic consequences.
Anyone can be lured toward what C.S. Lewis calls “the essential vice,” and the only way to combat the complete anti-God state of mind is to fight a spiritual battle using weapons that can only be found in the Bible. In the Book of James 4:6-10 is a specific list of actions that will ultimately lead to humility, which is the antithesis of pride.
- Submit to God
- Resist the devil
- Draw near to God
- Cleanse your hands (do good deeds)
- Cleanse your heart
- Be miserable and mourn and weep (acute awareness of pride)
- Humble yourselves in the presence of God and He will exalt you
To help in the fight against pride, the following actions will enable you to move away from focusing on yourself to focusing on others.
Get Low – Jack Wisdom, Houston attorney, states in his book of the same name, that “humility is the only way to greatness in the Kingdom.” Getting low is not the act of self-degradation, but rather submitting to the One most humble, Jesus Christ. The power of humility grows from the awareness that each of us has a purpose in His Kingdom.
Philippians 2:2-3 – “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourselves.”
Praise Others – The present culture of the world stands on precepts based on competition and defeating others for our own self-fulfillment. Biblical teaching, which in itself is counter-cultural, embraces the advancement of others and the glorification of God in the process. Our pride will be suppressed by celebrating the accomplishments of others.
John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Serve Others – Placing yourself in a position of servitude by putting the needs of others before your own leads to the improvement of the lives you are serving. A perfect example of this concept is the Good Samaritan. He had the compassion to stop and render aide when no one else would with nothing to gain but the satisfaction of helping a fellow human being.
Luke 22:24-27 – “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
Learn From Others – The Creator made us all relational with the need to engage other people, but when we’ve reached the end of our knowledge and experience, reaching out for wise counsel is both wise and productive.
Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Give the Credit to Others – Pride grows during self-proclamation. By accrediting others and giving the glory to God, you will learn that the improvement in the lives of others is more productive and rewarding than putting all the attention on yourself.
James 4:6 – But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Admit Your Mistakes – When you’ve made a mistake, and everyone does, acknowledge that you are not perfect in advance of revealing your shortcomings.
2 Corinthians 11:30 – If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Regularly Cleanse Yourself and Your Deeds – The battle against pride is never ceasing and humility can slip away without notice. Daily, even hourly, we must cleanse our minds and thus our deeds. Consider the words of Augustine:
Why are you so proud? God became humble for your sake! Perhaps
You would be ashamed to imitate a humble man; then at least imitate
A humble God. The Son of God came as a man and became humble…
Pride does its own will; humility does the will of God.
Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.