You Want to Go Up? Great. Go Down.
“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23 nasb).
What is the desire of a proud man? He only has one, really. He wants to be lifted up. He longs to be known and honored, recognized and revered.
His arrogance makes him believe that he deserves such acknowledgments; and, like wood to a raging fire, he looks for every opportunity to feed his ego and increase his standing among men.
The paradox is that, in God’s economy, exactly the opposite of what he desires takes place.
Pride lowers; humility exalts. A desire to be known will cause a man to be known for all the wrong reasons.
Pride is not a sin that hides. Its very nature pushes itself into view.
To see a man’s pride is a vulgar thing, because God created us for the opposite. We were designed to glorify Him, and anything less than that is a tragic caricature of a creature fearfully and wonderfully made by none other than God Himself.
Pride pushes our features out of place and distorts the image of God we were destined to display.
But the opposite is also true. A humble man will always be lifted up—in time—in the eyes of God and men. God loves to exalt humble men, because He knows they will handle such recognition properly.
A humble man has a proper view of God and of himself, and he knows the difference. When he is acknowledged, he has enough self-awareness to know it is only by God’s grace. He gently, with no false humility, gives thanks to the Almighty and defers the credit.
He does this not out of duty or pretentious piety, but because he genuinely believes it is exactly where the recognition belongs.
Do you want to be recognized? Then realize the genesis of this desire, and put the ax to the root of the tree. Ask God to show you His glory so you may properly bow before Him, vowing never to steal what He alone deserves.
Stay before God, in His Word and in prayer, long enough to rid yourself of the ugly desire to be known. Ask trusted friends to point out pride when it
rears its head. Watch what comes out of your mouth and the injection of words and phrases that draw attention to you instead of to God. (Evaluate ruthlessly, for your future usefulness depends on the elimination of this deadly trait.)
And realize that you must protect your heart from pride until you die. Unguarded moments will be seized by the Enemy when you least expect it. A lifetime of humility can be undermined in a moment of unguarded pride.
Lord, please show me the groundwork of my heart. Reveal to me every particle of pride, every subtle turn of arrogance and self-absorption. Let me be genuinely willing to take the lowest seat, reserving the highest place for others and for You. Help me grow in the grace of humility so You can be more clearly seen.
Bill Elliff serves as pastor of The Summit Church in Little Rock, AR, and is a member of the OneCry leadership team.