Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Of all the things I could be writing about at this juncture, with everything that’s been going on in the world for the past few days, one might rightly wonder why I would choose to write about humility and pride. Well, if simply stating that I don’t like to be obvious and predictable isn’t enough of an answer to some, I will add that it is a topic that God put on my heart for the past couple days. Two days ago while I was doing a radio program, about halfway through I started talking about pride, especially within Christian circles and among evangelists and preachers, and as I continued to ponder the topic I realized that it deserved true exploration, and more than just a passing glance.
The truth of the matter is that all of us have, at one time or another felt the twinge of pride in our hearts. Those who know the dangers of pride, and the benefits of humility quickly squelch the feeling of pride, reminding themselves that that are but dust and bones, that anything worthy of praise within them is God and not themselves, but there are others, who feed the fires of pride, giving themselves over wholly and unrepentantly to this most dangerous of sins. Pride makes the flesh feel good, it allows men to see themselves in a better light than they truly are, feeding the old man while starving the spiritual one.
J.C. Ryle once wrote of pride, ‘It is a dreadful fact that pride is one of the commonest sins which beset human nature. We are all born Pharisees. We all naturally think far better of ourselves than we ought. WE all naturally imagine that we deserve something better than we have. Pride is an old sin. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve thought they did not have everything that their merits deserved. Pride is a subtle sin. It rules and reigns in many a heart without being detected, and can even wear the garb of humility. Pride is a most soul ruining sin. It prevents repentance; keeps men back from Christ; checks brotherly love; and nips in the bud spiritual desires. Let us watch against it, and be on our guard. Of all garments, none is so graceful, none wears so well and none is so rare, as true humility.’
Today however, I did not want to write so much about pride, as I did about humility. A proud man is easy to spot if you know what to look for, if you possess the necessary discernment to see beyond the image they are projecting and weigh the heart of the individual. Just to cover all the bases, I will simply say that if a man promotes himself, talks about himself, elevates himself, honors himself, draws praise for himself while minimizing Christ, the role of Christ, the life of Christ, the character of Christ, and the need for Christ, that man has already been given over to pride, and unless he repents his end will be the way of death. We are no longer our own, we no longer have aspirations, we no longer desire positions we no longer hope that people identify us with a certain area of ministry once we’ve surrendered our all to Christ, once we have died with Him, but our sole purpose, desire and aspiration is to further the gospel and present Jesus to all who are ears to hear.
Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
If one pays close attention to the writings of Paul, they will soon come to realize that the epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians is perhaps the most intimate, personal and heartfelt of all his writings. It may be a reciprocation of the love the Philippians showed Paul time and time again, from Lydia opening up her home for her fellow brothers and sisters, to the entire body of believers in Philippi sending aid to Paul first in Thessalonica then in Corinth. Whatever the reason, the ways and means by which Paul instructs the church in Philippi is rare for a man of his character. As were most of the churches he wrote to, Paul established the church in Philippi, and on the particular occasion when he traveled there, Silas and Timothy and Luke were also present.
As is the case with any good work, Paul realized the enemy’s opposition to it. He also realized led by the spirit of God that the easiest way for the enemy to make headway, to cause division among the brethren and chaos with in the body of Christ was to fuel the fires of selfish ambition and conceit among them.
What some fail to understand is that it isn’t the truth you speak, or the good deed you perform, but the spirit that drives you to do them; that is what matters before God, and only He knows the heart of man and the intent with which the heart acted. Some people perform the work of God for the wrong reasons, and selfish ambition or conceit are just two of a myriad of reasons. When you throw greed, vainglory, and pride into the mix you begin to see a picture forming, one that is not at all pleasing to the eye. In his ever present wisdom Paul warns against those of the house of God from doing anything through selfish ambition or conceit, knowing that no good fruit can come from a bad tree, no worthwhile work can spring forth from a heart filled with selfishness and greed. Whether it is a spirit of division, one of pride, hidden agendas or greed, these things infect and pollute whatever good and noble act one might have performed, or whatever eloquent words one might have spoken.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.