Worry to Wise - Humility
This morning as we press on in our series in the book of Proverbs we are going to be taking a look at a subject matter that is not a very popular one, especially from the pulpit
This morning we are going to be looking at what Proverbs says about pride and humility
I think that part of the reason that this is not a popular subject to preach is that it is very easy for it to come across as “holier than thou”
In other words it is difficult for one to appear humble when they are preaching humility
So to make sure that you understand just where I am coming from and that I am as much a student in these disciplines that I preach as you are I want to begin with a brief story
It was our first winter as Pastors in Quadeville and things were going well although Liane will try and tell you that I had a bit of an antagonistic style back then always choosing the other side of a topic
I know what you’re thinking, ‘That can’t be true!’ I know right?! but anyway that’s what she thought
Well it didn’t take long that first winter for me to realize that winters in “The Valley” were a little bit different than the winters I was used to in Oshawa
Anyway early on in the new year I was informed by members of my board that on the Saturday of that week we would be having a little get together of some of the men in the church
This get together would take place on the roof and we were all encouraged to bring our own shovel
That’s right we were going to be shoveling off the roof of the church
Now what you see on the screen is a picture of the front of the church and as I worked my way towards this corner in the building I was warned by one of the gentlemen to be very careful in this area because the tin in the corner was very slippery and a previous pastor had slipped and fallen off the roof landing in the fresh snow banks below and was okay
Laughingly I told the men that it must have been because he had sin in his life and I would be okay
Well we finished the church roof and the parsonage roof but let’s move on to a couple of days later as I was walking down the driveway to go to the store and get the mail
Long story short I slipped on some ice and fell on my rear end, the result was a compression fracture of 2 of my vertebrae and a week long stay in the hospital
I was reminded more than once after that that “Pride cometh before a fall” but of course it was all in good fun
All in good fun of course
So now you know that I am not preaching down to you but from the same position as you so let’s open up to our text this morning,
So let’s open up to our text this morning,
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Now I hope that you are noticing a constant theme through each of the passages that we have looked at in Proverbs so far
That theme of course is that everything we have been talking about is always described as a process
We are an ongoing work and we should never expect that we are going to move from where we are in God to where we want to be overnight
It is always a process that we have to go through
Pride will eventually lead to disgrace
Humility will eventually lead to wisdom
Integrity will guide
Crookedness will destroy
To grow in humility we have to allow Jesus to heal us of our pride
It sounds so simple when I say it that way but it is actually so much more difficult than it sounds and the reason for that is that many of us have pride that we do not even know we have
We think of pride as an greatly exaggerated arrogance, a Donald Trump mentality but pride can be so much more subtle than that and can show up in even very Godly people
In his academic essay entitled, “Undetected Pride,” Jonathon Edwards lists 7 “symptoms” to look for in our lives to help us determine whether or not we may have a problem with pride
This is where we are always seeing in others what they are or are not doing and where they need to change but far too often we are unable to see any flaws in our own walk
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Paul said that, “A man ought to examine HIMSELF” and David said, “Search ME O Lord, know MY heart”
2. Harsh spirit
When our words, actions, or even attitudes towards another person, or another group of people, especially those who differ from us in some way, is filled with contempt, irritation, frustration, or even judgement, the root cause is Pride!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
This is when we spend way too much time focusing on how others perceive us
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
This is when we refuse to allow others to speak correction, rebuke, or any kind of guidance into our lives
We accept the language of Grace but nothing else and if they dare we bury them in an avalanche of “reasons” to get them off our back
Humility requires trusting someone to speak truth into our lives even when it is difficult to hear
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
5. A Buffet God
This is when we pick and choose the parts of God’s character that we like and leave the others
We become bold enough with God that we forget that He is God which is manifested either in our attitude that we don’t need to do certain things or in that we believe our sin is greater than God and there is nothing that we can do about it
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
6. Desperate for Attention
Have you ever known anyone that just couldn’t stop talking about themselves?
They have to break into your conversation, even if they were not part of it to begin with, just so they could tell you about their opinion, their experience, their theory etc.
They have to one-up the person speaking because their identity is based on the attention
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
7. Neglecting others
When we begin to prefer some people over others and we honour some more than we honour others it is almost always a matter of pride because those that we honour and prefer are at our level or higher and have something to offer back to us
We can sugar coat it if we want but what we are saying is that those we neglect are not worth our time, a matter of pride
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Now for the sake of time I have rushed through this list and there is so much more that we could say about each one of these “symptoms”
It’s not an easy list to hear though is it?
That’s because when we are honest with ourselves, each and every one of us has to battle one or more of these symptoms
And it is important that we acknowledge and deal with it in our lives because if we don’t God has declared that He will
Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
So how do we do that? How do we move from the human nature of pride to the Godly nature of humility?
Well let me share one more scripture with you,
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
There is so much that I could draw out of this passage this morning that I’m sure we could be here another hour, but don’t worry let me real quick draw your attention to just a few things
First of all God gives us grace, we need to acknowledge our pride to him confess our sin and accept His grace
Secondly submit yourself to Him, give Him the right to be Lord over every area of your life
Thirdly resist the devil
God is not just going to magically make you humble, it is going to require effort on your part
Fourthly come near to God, You cannot be continuously in His presence and have a prideful spirit,
The closer we draw to Him the more that we fall in love with Him and the more that we fall in love with Him the more we become like Him
Don’t let pride rob you of the fulness of life that God wants you to have
Instead search yourself for any of these symptoms and then confess your need to Him and ask for the Holy Spirit to bring you into alignment with His Word and with His character