Matthew 23:12, “He who humbles himself will be exalted”
1 Peter 5:5, “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility”
How would you define pride? The dictionary defines pride this way: (1) satisfaction with self: the happy satisfied feeling somebody experiences when having or achieving something special that other people admire; (2) proper sense of own value: the correct level of respect for the importance and value of your personal character, life, efforts, or achievements; and (3) feeling of superiority: a haughty attitude shown by somebody who believes, often unjustifiably, that he or she is better than others superiority. Pride shows the basic thinking “I am better than you are!” Other Biblical synonyms for pride would be arrogance, insolence, conceited, boastful, stiff-necked and haughtiness. Thus, pride is the most subtle of sins because it sneaks up on us when we least expect it. In fact, it’s so dangerous because it feeds on the good things we do. If we are generous, we can’t help feeling pretty good about it. If we help someone, we pat ourselves on the back. We can even be proud that we are conquering pride!
Peter gave the antidote to pride in the above referenced verse (1 Peter 5:5). He told us to “be clothed with humility.” Literally, this means “put on the servant’s apron” wherein our attitude should be a desire to serve. I saw this illustrated in the life of the pastor of the church where I was saved. He so identified with and served his congregation that some people in the community were surprised to learn that he was a pastor. If there was building to be done, he put on his carpenter’s apron and swung a hammer. If painting, he donned his paint clothes and slung a paintbrush. If cement work, he put on boots and grabbed a trowel. If dirt was being shoveled, he pulled on his gloves and did his part. He had a lot to be proud of, but he didn’t know it. That’s because he was too busy serving his congregation. He taught us what it means to be clothed with humility. And I’m sure he learned it from Jesus Christ, who washed the feet of His disciples’.
So how can we know when we are truly humble? We can’t, but when serving others becomes second nature to us, we are pursuing the ideal that Jesus set forth in Matthew 23. After pointing out that the scribes and Pharisees were always seeking power and position, He said, “He who humbles himself will be exalted”. Thus, when serving others comes from the inside out, like the pastor mentioned above, as a true deed of compassion, we are growing in humility. However, we won’t know it, because we’ll be doing it naturally. My friend that’s what true humility is all about. As servants of Christ, we should be known for humility. First Peter 5:5 tells us to “be clothed with humility, for ‘God resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” We should be unpretentious, talk about other people’s accomplishments, and focus on serving others. Lord Jesus, please help us to guard out hearts against pride, and teach us to be humble and clothed with humility!
No garment is more becoming to a child of God than the cloak of humility.