Matthew 18:1-4, At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
There are few, if any topics found in the Bible more frequently, and dealt with more ruthlessly, than the topic of pride. You’ll find pride dealt with in the Old Testament, especially Proverbs, and in the New Testament. Pride and humility are dealt with often by the Lord Jesus, the apostles Paul, James, and Peter.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you totally get it. We all struggle with pride. And, if we don’t think we do, that’s a sure sign that we are really struggling with it!
Along with reading the Gospels, I have been reading one of Andrew Murray’s books on humility recently. Oh, my! Does he have a few thoughts concerning pride and humility that are both convicting and challenging:
“When I look back on my own religious experience, or on the church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at how little humility is desired as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus. … It should be impossible for men to say they seek higher holiness unless their claim is accompanied by increasing humility. This is a loud call to all committed Christians to prove that meekness and lowliness of heart are the evidence by which they who follow the meek and lowly Lamb of God are to be known.”
That’s convicting and challenging. How about this one:
“Without humility, there can be no true dwelling in God’s presence or enjoying His favor and the power of His Spirit. Without humility, there is no faith, love, joy, or strength demonstrated in our lives. Humility is the only soil in which the graces take root; the lack of humility is the reasonable explanation for every defect and failure in the Christian life.”
Here’s another worth pondering:
“Let us admit that there is nothing so natural to man, nothing so subtle and hidden from our sight, nothing so difficult and dangerous, as pride. Let us feel that nothing but a very determined and persevering waiting on God and Christ will discover how lacking we are in the grace of humility, and how inadequate we are to obtain what we seek. Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His lowliness. And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride and our inability to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will come in to impart this grace too, as a part of His wondrous life within us.”
One more for the road:
“Is it any wonder that the Christian life is so often feeble and fruitless, when the very root of our life in Christ is neglected and unknown? Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is felt so little, when the humility in which Christ found joy and brings it to us, is so rarely desired? Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our most important joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.”
As with the disciples, when they came to Jesus in the passage above, it is NATURAL to for us ask (even if it’s simply asking in our hearts), “Who is the greatest?” It’s SUPERNATURAL to humble oneself and as a “little child.”