Beware of Pride, Be Clothed in Humility
Isaiah 5:15–16 (ESV) … “Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.”
Pride is the fundamental sin of humanity. This truth is reflected in a strong current throughout the Word of God. Pride is also the ultimate sin we can commit, for it is to exalt oneself over and above that of God. As Dr. Rogers would often say when preaching, “it is Pride that made the devil, the devil!”
D.L Moody once said, “There is no harder lesson to learn than the lesson of humility. It is not taught in the schools of men, only in the school of Christ. It is the rarest of all the gifts. Very rarely do we find a man or woman who is following closely the footsteps of the Master in meekness and in humility.”[i]
Humility is the ultimate virtue of the Christian. Humility is what we see in Christ and His earthly ministry. The importance of this virtue springs from the fact that it is found as part of the character of God. In Ps. 113:5–6 God is represented as being incomparably high and great, and yet he humbles himself to take note of the things which are created, while in Ps. 18:35 (2 Sa. 22:36) the greatness of God’s servant is attributed to the humility (gentleness) which God has displayed towards him.
Wherever the quality is found in the OT it is praised (e.g. Pr. 15:33; 18:12) and God’s blessing is frequently poured upon those who possess it. Moses is vindicated because of it (Nu. 12:3), while Belshazzar is reproved by Daniel (5:22) because he has not profited by the experience of Nebuchadnezzar before him, which might have brought him into an attitude of humility. [ii]
An easy lesson on humility comes from the life of Jesus. One day Jesus was on His way to Capernaum, and was talking about His coming death and suffering, and about His resurrection, and He heard quite a heated discussion going on behind Him. When He came into the house at Capernaum, He turned to His disciples, and said: “What was all that discussion about?”
In that text we see John look at James, and Peter at Andrew, and they all looked ashamed. “Who shall be the greater?” That discussion has wrecked party after party, one society after another “Who shall be the greatest?”
So, what did Jesus do and say? The way Christ decided to teach them humility was by putting a little child in their midst and saying: “If you want to be great, take that little child for an example, and he who wants to be the greatest, let him be servant of all.”
[i] Moody, D. L. (1896). The Overcoming Life and Other Sermons (p. 84). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell.
[ii] Fitzsimmonds, F. S. (1996). Humility. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 491). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.