Humility Compared To Pride

Vince Finnegan: Back to The Basic Notes – Page 47:

Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The humble acknowledges that Yahweh is the Almighty God. He realizes God’s absolute sovereignty as the source and maintainer of all life. His heart is fixed on Yahweh and his mouth utters constant praise and exultation for Him (Job 38:1- 42:17; Daniel 4:28-37; Revelation 4:11).

The proud thinks everything revolves around himself. Everything he does is viewed through the lens of self. His thoughts and therefore his conversation are primarily centered on self.

The humble is thankful knowing everything he has and hopes for are based upon God’s grace and mercy. He strongly believes he deserves nothing. The life he has now and the hope for the coming Kingdom are and will be available because Yahweh is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6; Ephesians 2:7-10). He thanks God and others often (Ephesians 4:19 and 20; Colossians 3:17; I Thessalonians 5:18).

The prideful one lacks genuine gratitude. They usually think they deserve what is good, that God and others owe it to them. Consequently, they see no reason to be thankful for what they receive. In fact, they may even complain because they think they deserve better. They tend to be critical, complaining, and discontent. The proud person is not in the practice of being thankful toward God and others (II Chronicles 32:25).

The humble is aware that he has no right to question or judge Almighty God; rather he unpretentiously asks God for wisdom and forgiveness. He does not see himself as even remotely qualified to question Yahweh. If undesirable things occur, he questions himself and never blames Yahweh (Psalm 51:1-19; Romans 3:1-31).

The proud complains against and blames God for that which is wrong in his or her life. He freely and openly murmurs against God and shifts his own blame to Him. He thinks and often proclaims to others, “Look what God has done to me after all I have done for Him” (Numbers 14:1-45).

A humble one does not see himself as better than others. He does not forget the sinfulness of his own heart nor the grace and mercy bestowed upon him. When he approaches others who are having problems, he does so with a spirit of kindness and gentleness (Galatians 6:1-10). Regardless of who the other people are, or what they have done wrong, he maintains a compassionate, Christ-like attitude (Philippians 2:4-8; Colossians 3:12-16).

The proud compare themselves to others and feel good that they are not so bad (II Corinthians 10:12;

Luke 18:9-14). When seeing a fault in others, they are quick to judge and “straighten out” the person and do so with a superior, belligerent attitude. They often try to force the issue by controlling the person. They are determined to fix what is wrong and to discard those who do not change as they think they should. In contrast, the humble know God is in control and that He honors free will.

Humble people pray a lot because they want to worship God and see themselves as utterly dependent on Him. The humble one holds firm to the awareness of their own limitations and weaknesses while acknowledging God Almighty’s ability and strength in their lives. Prayer is a way to surrender our ways to His ways, which are so much higher than our own (Luke 18:1-8; Matthew 6:9-13).

The proud do not have time to pray because they are too busy living life on their own. They may even say, “I want to pray, but I don’t have the time” (Matthew 14:23; Luke 11:1; I Thessalonians 5:17). The humble prefer others above themselves. They are willing to put others before self without first considering their own rights. Their good deeds are for the glory of God and not the praise of man. Serving others is viewed as a gracious privilege granted by a loving God (Matthew 6:1-6; Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-16).

The proud may be willing to serve others but always on their own terms. They obsess with what others think about them. Some are in a continual pursuit of gaining the approval and esteem of others. They are men-pleasers rather than God-pleasers. Proud people usually struggle a great deal with criticism.

They cannot bear the thought of others not thinking well of them. Service to others is more service to self because it is for vainglory, acceptance, or validation.

Humble people realize they do not know everything and, even when they think they are right, are willing to consider that they might be wrong (I Corinthians 4:7). They also know that God can use anyone to teach them since He had a donkey to communicate to Balaam (Numbers 22:22-35). Sound reproof is embraced not resented by them (Proverbs 9:8; 27:5 and 6). Understanding the infinite, eternal God can never be fully contained within their own small, finite knowledge they continue to search the Scriptures with meekness.

The proud maintain, although they may not admit it, a presumptuous conviction that their own beliefs contain the whole truth about God. Narrow-mindedness and closed-mindedness are frequently the result of this arrogant mind set. The proud often criticize, condemn, and fear all those who believe differently. “Surely they must be wrong because they do not believe what I believe.” Other sincere, committed Christians are perceived as a threat because their beliefs are different and must be avoided. This avoidance is perceived as taking a stand for God, but in actuality, it is a result of high mindedness (I Corinthians 8:1).

God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.

James 4:6-10 -The promise blessing for the humble is “a greater grace and “He will exalt you.” The greatest grace and the highest exaltation will be for those who enter into the Kingdom of God which is the promise connected with this first beatitude – blessed are the humble for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The Bible is jam-packed with records of people who have received God’s help when they manifested genuine humility and also the consequences for those who are prideful. Proverbs summarizes well.

Proverbs 16:5; 26:12; 28:25 and 26