Both humility and pride are difficult to define. But define them we must, as nothing is more deadly to Christian spirituality than pride and nothing more needed than humility. Continue reading . . .
Both humility and pride are difficult to define. But define them we must, as nothing is more deadly to Christian spirituality than pride and nothing more needed than humility. We know this from numerous biblical texts, one of which is James 4:6-7. There we are told that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble and for that reason we should “submit” to him. We are told, similarly, to “humble” ourselves “before the Lord, and he will exalt” us (v. 10).
Perhaps the best way to get hold of what James means by telling us to “humble” ourselves is by thinking about the nature of pride. I’ll be brief. Simply put: pride is when all of life is all about self! Here are a few ways in which this sin is expressed.
(1) The proud person is self-satisfied.(2) The proud person is self-sufficient.(3) The proud person is self-congratulatory. Pride takes credit for what only God can do.(4) The proud person is self-referential. That is to say, the proud person loves being praised, loves it when the attention is pointed in his/her direction, loves to be the topic of everyone’s conversation. Be very careful and cautious around people who make much of their humility! Such folk loudly proclaim their lowliness and then expect others to praise them for it! They are quick to make known their failures and their humility but react with strong protest if someone in private should suggest that their claims to humility are feigned and superficial.(5) The proud person is self-reliant. Pride cannot trust God. Trust feels too weak. It feels too dependent. It redirects too much attention away from oneself and to the stre