Lucia's Blog: JESUS, MEEK AND LOWLY AGAINST THE PERILS OF PRIDE
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, February 10, 2017

JESUS, MEEK AND LOWLY AGAINST THE PERILS OF PRIDE

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. “
Proverbs 16:18


Few things break your heart more quickly than pride. Someone that you love is going to walk into a disastrous situation because their pride has been inflamed and there is nothing that you can do about it. Jesus came to a proud world bent on self-destruction. Even the righteous disciples were easily provoked individually by their pride. Jesus, the meek and lowly, showed them a better way. Let us see what we can learn from our Lord about pride and the healing remedies that He offers.

The other day I was thinking about the little fox called pride that so often cripples us and robs us of humility, seeking self-glorification.  It robs God of His glory and seeks to glorify ourselves, (James 4:6).  Pride is a constant battle for many.  It is the little foxes that spoil the vines, (Song of Solomon 2:15).  These little foxes are not little at all!  They are very destructive animals that like to eat the tender grapes just before they get ripe.  Not only do these little foxes eat the grapes but they damage or tear the vines to pieces, ruining all the harvest.  Like these foxes, pride is something that we often allow to live in us until it is too late.  These little foxes are like termites that eat away our foundation of Truth and obedience to God, causing devastating spiritual damage. It eventually destroys our relationship with God!  It is a warning to you and me.  Why?  Because, usually it is the little things, the little sins, that tear us down, destroy our homes and marriages. It hinders our prayers, stunts our spiritual growth, causes high stress and kills the Lord's church.  As Christians, we must rid ourselves of these “little foxes” that cause so much damage and keep us from being fruitful. We must “catch” these foxes before it is too late!

In my study, I want to focus on the little fox of  “pride” which is the mother of conceit that eats into the core of the heart. Pride spoils meekness and humility.  The kind of pride I want to talk about is not the pride that we must have in the Lord and His church but rather the attitude of pride that causes us to have a much higher opinion of ourselves than we ought to have.  The kind of attitude that causes us to be wrapped up in our own exaggerated ego.  Such an attitude of the heart consists of conceit, haughtiness, vainglory, high-mindedness, and being puffed up.  The root of pride is the ego found in the heart of man, (Mark 7:21-23).  It is one of the many works of the flesh, (Gal. 5:19-21).  Pride sows to the flesh, and it will destroy us eventually if we ignore it and do nothing about it.  It is deceitful and subtle.  Why?  Because we tend to rationalize our behavior and justify ourselves in what we ought to know is not right.  It is all a matter of the inflated ego; always focusing inward, considering ourselves to be of great importance; making others feel inferior because we are superior to them.  “Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.”  (Psalm 73:6). Pride is indeed a trap from which no one can escape.  It often causes one to have contempt for others, leading him to slander, disdain, disrespect, and ridicule.  It feeds on gratification, honor, attention, praise and the approval of others.  It rages when others fail to notice their accomplishments.  It does not like to be slighted or ignored!  Pride is at the root of all sins.  It becomes more than just a little fox.  It is indeed no little sin, but a big sin that can destroy us eternally.

I.   WHAT DOES PRIDE LOOK LIKE?
  1. In the life of Pharaoh, it looked like:  “2 But Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.'"  (Exo. 5:2).
  2. In the life of Goliath: "43 And the Philistine said to David, 'Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?' And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.'"  (I Sam. 17:43-44).
  3. In the life of Nebuchadnezzar:  "You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;  I will make myself like the Most High.'"  (Isa. 14:13-14).
  4. In the life of the Pharisee: “11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'”  (Luke 18:11-12).
  5. In the life of Herod: “21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, 'The voice of a god, and not of a man!'"  (Acts 12:21-22).
The above examples are a clear demonstration of pride.  Each of these persons displayed this terrible sin called pride.

II.   THE DESTRUCTIVE NATURE AND DANGERS OF PRIDE:
  • The Root of Pride:
"11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, 'Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?' So he turned and went away in a rage.'"  (2 Kings 5:11-12).
Anger and pride is a pair of sins that go hand in hand.  The source of pride is ego.  It is one of those works of the flesh, (Gal. 5:19-21).  It is deceitful and dangerous.  Pride deceives many by rationalizing their behavior and justifying themselves.  A big problem with pride is that it reduces us to nothing, causing us to lose our love for God and others.  Pride sows to the flesh and not to the Spirit, (Gal. 6:7-8).  It will eventually destroy us if it goes unchecked.

The word "pride" is found six times in the book of Proverbs.  Likewise, the word “proud” is found seven times in the same book.  For instance, we find the word “haughty” three times in the same book.  The word “arrogance” is found once.  The word “conceit” is found five times.  Several passages speak of pride without mentioning the above terms.

Consider the ways in which the proud and haughty in heart (spirit) can destroy his soul:   
  • Pride Destroys Self:
Pride is an overestimation, elevation of self.  It overestimates one's worth.  It is a conceited sense of one's superiority.  A man who is proud is truly a legend in his own mind.

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.”  (Proverbs 26:12).  Now stop for a moment and reflect on this Scripture.  What is man?  He is the work of God.  “Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”  (Psalm 100:3).  God created us from the dust of the earth, (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 12:7).  We are not as smart as we think we are, (Matt. 10:30).  We are not as strong as we think we are, (Job 38:34-35).  Ultimately, it is appointed for every man to die, and after that comes judgment, (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 9:27).
"42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.'"  (1 Samuel 17:47).
Here we see Goliath as a champion on the battlefield.  His pride was as huge as his physical appearance.  He could have destroyed David in any other battlefield, but this one was not ordinary. You see, God gave the victory to the one that was humble and who trusted in Him rather than himself. Goliath's problem was his fatal pride, (Proverbs 16:18).

Pride causes man to ignore or counteract the above facts.  The Humanist Manifesto II of 1973 asserts the following under a section entitled “Religion.”
“But we can discover no divine purpose for the human species.  While there is much we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become.  No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”
Sixty-Nine men endorsed this Manifesto.  The names of four of these men began with the letter “A.” Three of them are now dead.  And though we' re not like these men who endorsed this Manifesto II and do not reject deity, our problem with pride is commonly twofold.  Why?  Because we tend to think more highly of ourselves than what we ought to think, (Rom. 12:3).  At times we obey God partially.  We ignore God's commands in our life and do what we believe is right in our own eyes.  We start complaining because God's rules are not fair, so we reject His Word, (1 Sam. 15:3, 9, 17, 22-23).  Those who revel in self, face destruction.  Consider three Scriptures that affirm this:
  1. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”  (Prov. 11:2).
  2. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”  (Prov. 16:5).
  3. “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”  (Prov. 29:23).
  • Pride Leads to Forgetting God:
“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, 'Who will bring me down to the ground?'”  (Obadiah 3-9)
A vision came to Obadiah to deliver the nation of Edom.  The LORD was stirring the nations for battle against Edom.  God's message to Edom is that He is going to bring them down (“I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised).  He is going to destroy them and shame them.  Why would a loving God do this?  Why is He stirring the other nations to act against Edom? Why does Edom need to be cut down to size?  Because the pride of their heart had deceived them.  The prophecy of Obadiah is the problem and danger of pride.  Notice how proud they were in their heart:  “Who will bring me down to the ground?”  You see Edom's biggest problem was that they deceived themselves thinking that no other nation could defeat them.  No nation could rise against them.  So, where did this pride come from?  Well, verse 3 tells us that their cities sat high in the rocks.  Some of Edom's cities lay at least 5,500 feet in elevation.  As a result of this, they thought they could never fall or be defeated.  Wait, they forgot to take something into consideration.  They forgot God, the only One who can ride in the clouds of heaven and can bring them down.  They deceived themselves ignoring that God was the source of all of their blessings and that His will is what governs all the nations regardless of what they might plan.  They looked around on the earth thinking that they were the most amazing and most powerful.  But, guess what?  They forgot to put God in the picture!

Forgetting God, our Creator is the foundation of pride.  Pride believes and deceives us with a lie, that we do not need God; that we can depend on ourselves and our own strength.  We think that because we have our own abilities, resources, abundance, prosperity, and worth: that we are self-sufficient, we do not need God.  What a lie!!  The saddest part of all this is that our culture glorifies pride!  Pride is glorified when one is independent and self-assured to the point of harming others.  

As I read Obadiah, I notice that the Edomites took pride in the same things that we take pride in as individuals, as a society and as a country.  The people of Edom took pride in their wisdom, (verse 8). Teman, a city in Edom, was well known for its wisdom and knowledge.  Isn't it something how often we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are so knowledgeable and evolved because of our predecessors?!  We simply believe that we know much more, thinking that those who were before us were either Neanderthals or buffoons.  And since we are so smart, we definitely will succeed where others failed.  Isn't that amazing!

Another thing the Edomites took pride in was their military might and their allies, (verses 7, 9).  But God Almighty declared that the mighty men would be dismayed, (verse 9).  They pridefully thought that their might was going to save them from any attack.  Today is no different.  Many nations today believe that they will continue to stand because of their military success and might.  How about that?!  But the biggest problem they have is that in their sinful pride, they forget that God is in the picture.  They forget to acknowledge that a nation is not powerful and strong because of its military might but because God gave them strength.  In the history of Israel in the Old Testament, we see that Israel did not need fortified cities since God was going to defeat their enemies.  When Israel turned from the LORD, went astray, and built strong cities, those fortified cities were destroyed.  God judges pride, and we see that throughout the Bible.  Our education and human knowledge: our wisdom will not save us from God's judgment.  Our strength and might will not save us from His judgment.

God repeatedly warned the nation of Israel about forgetting Him because of their pride.  Do you remember what God told Israel in Deuteronomy 8:11-20 before they entered the Promised Land of Canaan, the land that He was about to give them?  They forgot God's commandments, rules, and statutes.  They forgot God.  They thought their prosperity and success was by their own might, so they forgot God.  They forgot that their wealth was from the hand of God, so they forgot Him.  But what did God say?  He was going to judge them for doing that.  He will judge us also if we do not repent.  

Jeremiah 49:14-16 quotes the first four verses of Obadiah.  God's judgment was coming because He had already prophesied against Edom because of their pride.  They refused to listen and repent. Therefore, God's judgment was going to destroy everything and leave nothing (verse 5).  The nation of Edom was to be stripped bare and destroyed completely.  
  • Pride Leads to Evil:
As in the case of Edom, their pride led them to sinful actions.  Pride was the basis for their sins.  The Edomites committed all kinds of violence against Israel, (verse 10).  When God allowed the Babylonians to invade Jerusalem (three times), the Israelites were trying to escape it.  But, did the Edomites help them against the Babylonians?  They refused to help them and instead they killed those who were trying to flee.  It is amazing to see how pride and hatred had taken away their compassion for others!!  You see, when one elevates self, he no longer cares or has compassion for other people.  The proud will hurt others because pride dictates who is the most worthy and valuable one.  And we wonder why in our society people break the law and hurt others!  We wonder why violence is rising.  We wonder why everything has progressed for the worse, the way we have it today.  Guess what the answer is?  Yes, pride!! And where does it come from?  From forgetting God and His righteousness.  The problem with forgetting God is that we think we're the most important creatures, so others must suffer.  As a result of this, we have violence and genocide (mass murder).

Pride causes us to lose our compassion toward others.  We no longer care.  Edom was judged for this attitude of the heart.  Edom rejoiced in watching Judah's misfortune and ruin, (verses 12-13).  They looted their wealth.  Pride causes one to take from others even those who are experiencing adversity or calamity.  We have no right to take from others or rejoice because of their adversities even when we have been mistreated.  It is evil!  Pride causes one to show no regard for the well-being of others. So Edom was condemned for partaking in Judah's misfortune and ruin.  Notice God's judgment in verse 15 of Obadiah, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your head.”  

What we sow we will also reap.  What we have done to others, God will bring about full judgment in His wrath.  No one will be able to stand against Him, (Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:16; 28; Habakkuk 2:16).  In the book of Revelation, God ends with the same note.
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”  (Revelation 22:12).
Therefore, knowing that God will repay according to our deeds or works, we must see the judgment that is coming to each one of us for what we have done.  So if you have failed because of pride, lack of compassion and have forgotten God, now is the time to repent, verse 17.  There is hope in the Lord.  Obadiah's message is:  the humble will be exalted, and the proud will be humiliated.  We rid ourselves of pride when we honor and are thankful to God for all things in all circumstances.   This is our best weapon against pride.
  • Pride is The Greatest Enemy of Repentance:
Indeed, pride is the major stumbling block to repentance.  Why?  Because he who is proud finds it difficult to admit when he is wrong or needs to repent from sin.  Repentance is not only vital to Christians but also to non-Christians, (1 John 1:8, Prov. 16:18).

Many Christians have fallen from grace because they have allowed their pride to interfere with their repentance, (Gal. 5:4).  So often when we try to persuade one who is living in sin to repent (change his sinful ways), he resents us.  He says, “Who do you think you are, telling me how to live my life?”  “I have nothing to repent of.”  I know what I'm doing and am in control of it.”  “I make my own decisions.”  

Sadly, this person's pride has blinded him to repentance.  One good example of this is the alcoholic. He often denies that he is an alcoholic.  He may even feel insulted that one would dare to point out his sin and his need to repent.

The Pharisees were very proud.  They often confronted Jesus with arrogance and would not receive His teachings.  When Jesus found them in the Temple selling animals and changing money, He drove them out, overturning the tables, (Matt. 21:13).  This apparently enraged them (the scribes and chief priests), and they sought to kill Him.  Pride was their number one problem.  They were too proud to admit that they were wrong in using the Temple in such a shameful way.  Their pride blinded them to accepting that they had sinned against God; that the Temple was desecrated.  So what did they do? They felt rage instead of feeling shame.

When people hear the Lord's invitation to come to Him to find rest from their labor and heavy burden, many refuse to accept it and repent because of pride.  It is so difficult for them to admit that they are wrong and need to repent!  It is man's ego that prevents him from admitting that he has sinned.  Sadly, many die in that state.  Their inflated ego prevents them from acknowledging their sins, faults, and shortcomings, (James 5:16).  Pride also steps in the way of the “one another” part of admonition.  Why is it so hard to humbly admit that you have sinned or done wrong and need to repent and ask forgiveness of God and the one you have wronged?!  It is vital that you be at peace with God and all men, but that demands that you be humble and not proud.  God abhors the proud. Who wants to be around a proud and arrogant person?  Do you?  I don't!!  Your salvation depends on it!
  • Proud In Our Speech:
In James 4:10 we have been admonished to humble ourselves before God that He may exalt us. James is speaking concerning pride.  Pride is the root of many of our failings and weaknesses.  Pride is the cause of failing to live a godly life.
“11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”  (James 4:11-12).  
James is saying that when we speak evil or judge another (not with righteous judgment), we are indeed speaking evil against the law and judging the law.  To speak evil against one another is to speak evil against God's Law!  Why?  Because with that negative attitude of heart, we are choosing to ignore God's commands or laws. Like the law to love our neighbor.  James calls this “the royal law.”  When one loves his neighbor as himself, he is doing well, (James 2:8).  It is impossible to love someone and at the same time slander him.  In doing this, we are breaking the royal law, the Law of God.  We are in the place of God and sitting in the judgment seat of God's Law!  When we break God's Law, we're refusing to be under the laws of God.  Bear in mind that there is only One Lawgiver and Judge.  And it is not you or me! He is God!  He is the only One who can dictate law and stand in judgment of the law.  Take heed!
“12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”  (James 4:12).  
Often we have the nerve to judge God's Law and question His commands (laws) rather than humbly to submit to them.  So, who are you to judge your neighbor?  Who do you think you are?  What makes you better or greater than others?  Who gives you the right to judge or criticize someone else?  It is easier to criticize others than to be a doer of the Law.  It is easier to throw stones at others who are doing the Lord's work.  Often we delude ourselves thinking we are the doers and the others are just the hearers.  Do you suppose you are a doer of God's Law when you speak evil of another?!  Right?  Do you think that when you slander someone, you are keeping God's Law?  You are not a doer!  You are not the Judge!  You are usurping the Lawgiver and Judge.  You are not keeping quiet and obeying God's laws or commands.  You are proud and foolish when you speak evil of others, forgetting your place before the Judge of all.  Take heed and stop being proud!
  • Proud In Our Goals and Plans:
“14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.   15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”  (James 4:14-15).
When we think that we have total control of our lives, we are exhibiting pride.  Why?  Because we are behaving as if we have control over everything that happens to us.  We don't even know what tomorrow may bring.  We don't know what lies ahead of us.  So, why boast about tomorrow, making ambitious plans about your life?  You don't know the future; only God knows!  So, stop acting like you have control!  We seem to forget this truth!  We are arrogant to think so.  You don't know what your life will be tomorrow.  Your life is nothing more than a mist!  Why not say if the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that?!  Such boasting is evil!  
  • Proud in Pride:
"15 Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.'"  (James 4:16-17).
This point is similar to my prior one about being proud in our plans.  It is complete arrogance to boast about what we are doing or planning on doing.  We should humbly say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  When we say, “If the Lord wills,” we need to mean what we are saying.  Notice that James says, “you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live.'"  What do you suppose that means?  It means that God is in control and not us.  It is God's will and not mine.  So, stop assuming that we will live and have health.  God is the only One who knows the future and is in control of the same.  We don't know if we will live tomorrow.  Our lives are in God's hands, and we must accept it.  Therefore, do not be proud in your pride as if we have total control over today and tomorrow.  Stop acting as if you were in charge of everything and humbly put your life in God's hands if it is His will.  Start appreciating all of God's goodness and the life He is giving you today!
  • Pride Delights In Boasting:
An excellent example of boasting is the Pharisee who stood at the Temple and prayed saying, “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'”  (Matt. 18:11-12).  He was so blindly proud that he could only see the tax collector's wrongs and failings but not his own.  Notice what Jesus said of the Pharisees, “5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed (seen) by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.”  (Matt. 23:5-7).  You see pride destroys humility!

A person who is full of pride thinks highly of himself and boasts in his achievements.  He wants to be noticed and is self-absorbed in his pride.  He ignores what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.  Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  2 'So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.'"  (Matt. 6:1-2).  The key phrase here is "to be noticed by them (men)."  Pride delights in being in the spotlight and being the star of the show!  We cannot be of any use to the Lord until we willfully surrender our pride and proudful ways.

Did you know that one of Peter's major failures was boasting?  He boasted too much.  The night before our Lord's crucifixion, He instituted the Lord's Supper as a memorial.  He then told His disciples in John 13:36, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”  Peter then asked and boasted saying, “37 Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Our Lord's response was this, “30 Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”  (Mark 14:30).  According to Luke 22:33, Peter made another grand request.  “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”   Moreover, in Matthew 26:33, Peter said, “33 Peter answered him, 'Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.'"  Isn't it crystal clear that Peter liked to boast?  He claimed he was willing to go to prison for Jesus.  He bragged about dying with Christ before he would deny Him.  Just a few hours later, before the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter denied the Lord three times.  He swore he didn't know Jesus though he boasted earlier that he would never deny the Son of God.  

So, why did Peter fail?  Pride is part of it, (Prov. 16:18).  This scenario is repeated many times in the Bible.  Remember the older brother who boasted of his own righteousness and then failed to show compassion to his younger brother who had repented, (Luke 15).  Yes, pride goes before destruction! It is vital that we take heed to Paul's admonition in Gal. 6:1-5 when trying to restore one who has been overtaken in sin.  We must consider ourselves lest we also are tempted.  Tempted to do what? To become self-righteous and full of pride when seeing the faults and failings of others.  Humility is what overcomes pride.  So, if we have the tendency to exalt ourselves, we will be humbled by God one way or another.  On the other hand, if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will exalt us.  Peter failed because he was boastful and full of pride.  So, let us work hard at being more humble so that we may not sin against our God and then find ourselves judged by Him.
  • Pride Causes us to Look Down on Others:
In the Old Testament Moses asked Pharaoh, the great ruler of Egypt to let the children of Israel go that they might hold a religious feast to Him in the wilderness.  Pharaoh's response was, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?  I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”  Here we see a man full of pride.  Pharaoh looked down on Moses and even God Himself.  He would not humble or submit to God because of his pride.  Each time Moses appeared before him, he showed contempt, insolence, and arrogance.  Not even the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians changed his arrogant heart.  He was a proud and arrogant man who preferred to suffer rather than to submit to God's command.
  • Pride Destroys Relationships With Others:
“By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.”  (Prov. 13:10).
“25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.”  (Prov. 28:25).
As followers of Christ, we strive for unity, peace, and happiness in our relationships.  Unfortunately, pride destroys all these things.  Why?  Because pride prevents an honest discussion of the issues of disagreement between two persons.  Pride attacks the character of others rather than focus on their problems and differences.  Pride's primary goal is to divide people into hostility.  Pride will not allow anyone to say the words:  “I am wrong, or I was wrong.”  “I am sorry, please forgive me for what I have done.”  “I forgive you.”  

In the New Testament, we read of at least two examples of relationships where pride caused problems.  James and John requested that they might sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus, (Mark 10:35-41).  Notice the request:  “35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, 'Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.   36 And he said to them, 'What do you want me to do for you?'  37 And they said to him, 'Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”' (Mark 10:35-37).  Now notice the response, “41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.”  (Mark 10:41).
The ten were greatly afflicted and moved with indignation.  Had Jesus not intervened at the moment, there would have been major trouble among the apostles.  In 3 John 9, we come to know Diotrephes who loved to put himself above others.  There was a division between him and John.  Diotrephes' major problem was that he loved to have the preeminence among men.  Pride is a grave sin, and one must repent of it to be right with God and have fellowship with Him.
  • Pride Destroys One's Relationship (Fellowship) With God:
“A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin.”  (Prov. 21:4).
“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  17 A proud look... “  (Prov. 6:16-17).
Pride is an abomination to God.  Why?  Because its motives and actions are lawless and lawlessness is a sin against the Word of God, (1 John 3:4).  God demands humility and that we walk humbly with Him.  To be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, one must be humble.  For God to exalt us, we must be humble before Him.  God demands that His children clothe ourselves with humility toward Him and one another because.   "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 18:4; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6).  He demands that we not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, “but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Rom. 12:3).  The Word of God also exhorts us to have the mind of Christ, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  (Phil. 2:5-8).  Pride is of Satan, and we must be careful not to fall under condemnation, (1 Tim. 3:6).

Satan led Adam and Eve to sin by appealing to their pride. Satan told them that they would be like God, knowing good and evil.  When Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  (Gen. 3:4-6).  Today, Satan is still appealing to man's pride when he tempts man with the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.  

God hates pride.  He is disgusted when He sees pride in men.  When a man sets himself above God, it is idolatry, (Exo. 20:3).  A proud and arrogant man appeals to his own worldly wisdom rather than fearing and honoring God, (Romans 1:21-22).  A proud man thinks he knows better than the all-wise God of heaven, (1 Cor. 1:20).  A proud man believes he is self-sufficient and does not need God, (Luke 12:16-21).  Pride is the soil in which all others sins grow and flourish.  God will punish the proud, and His wrath will go against them.  He will not allow anything that's unclean (sin) to enter the gates of heaven, (Rev. 21:27).  


MEEKNESS & HUMILITY:  GOD'S CURE TO PRIDE AND HAUGHTINESS

Why do you suppose we are to be meek and humble?  Should we learn to be more self-assertive or not to be proud and haughty?  What do you think?  What does the Word of God teach us concerning meekness, humility, gentleness and lowliness?  Contrast that with pride, selfishness, self-will, self-centeredness and arrogance.  Which do you think are the greatest qualities a child of God ought to possess?  Pride and haughtiness? Or Meekness and humility?  
  • What Does it Mean to Be Meek?
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”  (Matthew 5:5)
The word “meekness” is not a word commonly used in our everyday conversations.  The NASB and HCSB use the word “gentle.”  The NLT uses “humble.”  The Greek Lexicon defines it “to not being overly impressed by a sense of one's self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek.” Meekness does not mean weakness.  Sometimes it is translated as gentleness.  Meekness is an attitude of the heart, (1 Peter 3:4).  It does not mean to assert oneself for his own sake.  The word carries the idea of restraint, though one has the power to do something.  Wherefrom an individual willingly submits and accepts without any resistance to the will and desires of someone else.  The individual has ability and power but chooses not to use it.  He is willing to put himself in second place and submit to do what is good for others.  Thus, it is a gentleness of spirit.  Meekness is the opposite of self-will, self-interest, and self-assertiveness.  It is in no way a sign of weakness of character as many think, but rather of strength.  Meekness requires enormous self-control to submit to others.  One great example of meekness was our Lord Jesus.  He portrayed this attitude or character of heart in Gethsemane when Peter stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.  Notice what our Lord Jesus said to Peter:  “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”  (Matthew 26:52-53).

Here we see in Jesus the gentleness and humility that keeps Him from defending Himself or acting on His own behalf.  Jesus is showing us an example that demonstrates, that meekness is not conflict but restraint.  We clearly see that meekness is firmly tied to self-control.  Isaiah prophesied about the meekness of Jesus.
“He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”  (Isaiah 42:2-3).
Though Jesus was meek, He still had great power.  Yet, He showed a gentle spirit and self-control, doing His Father’s will and willfully surrendering to His Father.  Moses is another great example that showed the character of meekness.  Moses was very meek, above all men on the face of the earth, (Numbers 12:3).  Both Jesus and Moses were chosen by God to be givers of His Law.  So if you want to be happy, to be led by the Spirit, to avoid destruction and to be great examples of meekness like Moses and Jesus, you must work on your meekness and humility.
  • So, What is Humility?
It is an attitude or quality of mind, (Acts 20:19) by which a person holds low esteem or opinion of his own goodness and importance.  Spiritually speaking, one who humbles himself because of his sinfulness and thus is willing to depend on God to meet His needs.  It is the opposite of pride, haughtiness, and self-exaltation.

I.   MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY TOWARD GOD:

In the Bible, meekness is mainly represented as submissiveness toward God.  Meekness and humility require that we do the following:
  • Recognize Our Sinfulness:
In Luke 18:9-14 we read of a Pharisee who exalted himself and failed to see his sins.  On the other hand,  the Publican, pleaded to God for mercy, admitting he was a sinner.  Notice what verse 14 states, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  Humility is the opposite of self-exaltation and self-righteousness.  We have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, (Rom. 3:23).  Hence, we have no right to look down on other sinners as if we deserve salvation just because we are so good and they don’t deserve it.  We humble ourselves like the Publican when we call on God to forgive us.
  • Depend on of God: 
In Deut. 8:3,11-14,16,18, we have Moses as our example of humility.  Moses knew that man lives not by bread alone but by the Word of God.  Our blessings come from God instead of our might and power.  It is wise to remind ourselves that we are nothing and are weak without God.  It is then that we will begin to depend on God to meet our needs, thus appreciating and exalting Him.  In Matt. 18:1-4, Jesus stated that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who is humble like a little child.  A child does not just forgive but is dependent on his parents.  So humility leads us to trust, appreciate and glorify our God rather than exalting self.
  • Submit to God’s Laws:  His Word
We must be willing to do what God commands.  To do that, we must accept our weaknesses and our failings.  When we obey God, we will believe in Him and do His will.  Moses is our best example of meekness and faithfulness, (Num. 12:3,6,7).  He did according to all that Jehovah God commanded him to do, (Exo. 40:16).  He built all things according to the pattern shown to him, (Heb. 8:5).  Jesus is our other example of meekness and humility.  He came to earth as a man and humbled Himself, becoming obedient, even to the point of death on the cross, (Phil. 2:8).  He was without sin though He was tempted in all things like we are, (Heb. 4:15).  Jesus left us an example that we should follow Him.  He did not sin nor was any guilt found in His mouth, (1 Peter 2:21-22).  Both Moses and Jesus are recognized highly for their meekness, humility, and obedience to God.

So, what is the application for us?  That we must put away all lawlessness and wickedness showing all meekness toward God.  Moreover, we must be doers of God’s Word and not just hearers.  This demands a lot of meekness and humility of heart.  God resists the proud in heart but gives grace to the humble, i.e., He will exalt you.  Therefore, we must submit to God’s will, draw near to Him, clean our hands, purify our hearts, mourn and weep because of our sins.  That is true humility in action, just as in Jesus’ life (1 Peter 1:22).  It can be accomplished only when we humbly submit to His will and hold ourselves in low esteem.  Repentance is often associated with humbleness of self, (1 Kings 21:27ff; 2 Chr. 7:13; Isa. 57:15; 1 Peter 5:5-9; Prov. 15:31-33).  In Matt. 16:24 we find an excellent definition of  “meekness” without using the word.  To be meek is to deny self.  The selfish one says, "I want this,  I want that…. " The real meek in heart says,  “What does God want?” “Is this according to God’s will?”  The meek will always consider his will last and God’s first.  So we must question everything we do in word and deed as to what effect it will have in God’s service to Him.  Then we will do what pleases Him.

Obedience is humility toward God's Word.  God's Word dictates what's right and wrong and pleasing to God.  “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look:  he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”  (Isa. 62:2).  Humility to God's Word is to have an open heart to heed His Words. Humility does not try to justify our actions or sinful habits.  Rather it conforms to the will of God and thus is transformed.  It is arrogant to think that our views always have to be correct and that we have nothing to learn.  Humility toward God's Word implies that we be willing to change our beliefs or prejudices in the light of the Scriptures.
  • Accept Life’s Circumstances According to God’s Will:
The meek and humble in heart will embrace persecution, abuse, mistreatment, suffering and hardship without complaining, rebelling (against God) and doubting God's wisdom.  He will humbly accept this reality knowing that it is for God's good purposes.  Moses is one of our examples here.  Though he encountered many problems (his people complained about his poor leadership even though he was doing what God told him to do), he still submitted to the will of God.  I wonder how many of us would have stood for that?  He did!  That is why he was called the meekest man on earth!  Numbers 12:1-3.

Jesus is our other example.  He was led as a sheep to be slaughtered, (Acts 8:32-33; Isa. 53:7f).  Do you suppose it was hard for our Lord Jesus to go to the “slaughter"?  Did that take meekness?What do you think?  Jesus said, "Not my will but thine be done.”  He left heaven's glory, humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death on the cross.  Does that not require plenty of humility and meekness?  Does that not demand both humility and meekness to willingly leave all of heaven's glory to come to earth as a man and be abused as a criminal at the hands of wicked, evil men, so that He might save us?  Let this sink deeply into your hearts!!

So, what do you suppose is the application for us today?  Jesus is our perfect example of humility and meekness.  We must learn to submit to suffering just as He did.  Do you think you have suffered as much as our Lord and Savior did?  I doubt it!!  So, why is it then that we find it so easy to complain and rebel against God when we have problems and trials?  We know, (do we not?) that God often allows circumstances to chasten or discipline us that we might develop our muscle of humbleness, submission to His will and dependence on Him.  All this has but one purpose, to perfect and mature us.  It is good for us in the end.  I can assure you of that!!  So, why try so hard to control your life?  Why not choose to turn to God and trust Him?  Hardships help us to become more humble.  Why?  Because we can easily see our weaknesses, knowing that we cannot solve them on our own, so we humbly turn to our Father in heaven for help.  It is in the midst of my trials, failings, and sufferings that I have learned to appreciate Him and see my desperate need for Him.  And I am so grateful to Him that He is there to rescue and deliver me from all my foes!!  Be aware that our God is not to be blamed for all of our problems. Some problems are caused by sin, but others just come our way by chance.  Like Job, there is no sin, but still, God allows Satan to cause us hardship.  Satan is the one responsible for many of our troubles.  God uses them to refine us of our impurities like the potter does the clay and to humble us.

In 2 Cor. 12:7-10, Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him from overly exalting himself.  Satan was the root of the problem and not God!  But God indeed allowed it to happen and remain for Paul's good.  So, our trials and troubles are good for us in that it keeps us from becoming proud and self-reliant.  Thank God for our trials, sufferings, and hardship!  They make us better Christians to the glory of our Father.  Hardship is good for us when we endure it with faith.  The humble and meek are aware of this fact and willingly submit to God instead of rebelling and being bitter or angry at Him.
  • Resist Error and False Teaching With Meekness:
Some wrongly believe that a meek person cannot speak up against error or sin.  Often, when one rebukes others because of sin, some have the tendency to think that he is self-willed, stubborn, pushy, wants to exalt self and get his own way.  Sadly, there are many out there who want to change the image of the church because they stubbornly want to oppose an active stand against error.  They tell us, We shouldn't be so forceful in telling people they are wrong or are sinning."  “We need to be more meek and loving.”  They refuse to acknowledge that even Moses and Jesus resisted error and false teaching.  Take for example Moses who became angry at the sins of his people, (Exo. 32:19,20,26-28,30).  He openly told them they had sinned and called for disciplinary action right away.  Yet, he was the meekest person on the face of the earth!  This is a meek man in action!  There's not the slightest conflict between being meek and opposing error.  The conflict exists in the minds of many because they misunderstand the concept of meekness.  Jesus openly condemned the sins of the Pharisees, (Matt. 15:3-9,12-14).  The Pharisees were offended.  Did Jesus apologize for rebuking them?  Not at all!  He instead went ahead and called them blind guides, telling His disciples not to follow them.  You supposed Jesus should have apologized for not being meek enough?  In Matthew 23, Jesus rebuked them and called them hypocrites, sons of hell, blind guides, fools and blind men, whitewashed tombs or sepulchers, full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, brood of vipers.  “How shall ye escape the judgment of hell?”  These are the declarations of a meek man!!  He who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”  Indeed, Jesus our Lord was without sin.  Thus, there is no conflict between meekness and the sharp rebuke of sin, calling each sin or group by its name without any guilt whatsoever, (John 8:41-47; 54-55).

So, what is the application for us?  Meekness demands that we also correct and oppose sin and false doctrine in others who are doing wrong, (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).  We are commanded by God to point out to them their error or wrongdoing in meekness.  Meekness leads us to point out to others their errors and wrongdoings.  Isn't it something that the same Scriptures that require us to be meek also command us to correct others as well?!  Meekness like love must always be exercised toward God.  Like Moses and Jesus, the one who is meek wants to see God's will be respected and obeyed and that demands that one speak out against error or sin.  Are you meek and submitting to God's will?

II.   MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY TOWARD OTHERS:

Meekness and humility toward God are essential to pleasing Him.  That same meekness and humility lead us to be meek and humble toward others as well.  Meekness and humility are vital to our relationship with others.   It will require us to:
  • Submit to Civil Rulers:
Men are to be subject to all manner of human authority.  In Titus 3:1-2, we are commanded to be meek (gentle) and humble toward men, (verse 2).  Likewise, we are told to submit and obey rulers and authorities.  In I Peter 2:13-15, we are told to “ be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14 or unto governors...”  Why shall we submit?  It is God's will.  Humbly submitting to God's Law will lead one to submit to rulers meekly.  So, why is it so hard to submit to laws?  Why would someone cheat on his taxes?  Why then disobey traffic laws?  Because we refuse to submit to what the law says and want to do what we want.  We are self-willed and unwilling to yield and deny self.  Meekness and humility are necessary to avoid this kind of attitude of heart, setting aside our will.
  • Wives Are Called to Submit to Their Husbands:
Wives are called to submit to their husbands.  In 1 Peter 3:1-6, God repeatedly commands that wives are to be submissive to their husbands.  He also requires them to adorn themselves with a meek (gentle) and quiet spirit.  So, why is it that modern women, even Christian sisters, deny the concept of submission to their husbands and that a man is the head of his household?  Why are there so many women unhappy and rebelling against following their husbands' headship and leadership?  I can think of a few reasons.
  1. First, the husband is selfishly misusing and abusing his authority.
  2. Second, he is failing to treat his wife with honor and respect as the weaker vessel, (verse 7).
  3. Third, some wives are stubborn and have a hard time following their husbands’ views even when the husbands are respectful.  Peter says explicitly that wives ought to obey their husbands even when they are not obeying God's Word, (verse 1).  How about that!    
So, why is it that women struggle with this concept of submission?  Because in a feminist world it is humiliating to have to do what a man says.  Feminism has brainwashed many women into thinking that their ideas are just as good as his.  Feminism says, “I've got my pride.”  “I can stand up for myself.”  But guess what?  God demands that women have a meek and quiet spirit. Likewise, children must submit to their parents; employees to their employers.  Meekness and humility are needed to put a stop to stubbornness and rebellion.
  • Honor Others Rather Than Exalting Self:
God commands us to practice humility and meekness toward others.  It is accomplished when we submit to each other.  Paul instructed us to submit to one another in the fear of God, (Eph. 5:21). Peter said, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.”  (1 Peter 5:5).  In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul conveys this attitude of humility much better.  “3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” 

The one who is humble considers others as more important than himself and looks out for their best interests.  Our marriages will work properly when both spouses are seeking out the best interest of each spouse.  A friendship will work well when each is seeking out the best interest of the other person.  A church will work rightly when each member is seeking out the best interests of others.  It is important to grasp that our focus cannot be on ourselves, but rather on the well-being and interests of others.  To put this into practice, submission is vital.  Humility yields to the interests of others.  
In Romans 12:3, we have been instructed not to think more highly of self than we ought to think but to think soberly.  “Think so as to have sound judgment.”  So, why not be honest and realistic when attempting to evaluate self in comparison to others?  It is easy to be deluded into thinking that we are more talented than others, have more abilities, better ideas, deserve greater honor than others. When in fact, this might not be the case.  So, why not admit to your weaknesses or shortcomings, especially your sins?  Sadly, people tend to ignore their sins or the gravity of them. 

Start appreciating the good qualities of others.  We have the bad habit of exaggerating our good qualities, wanting to receive credit for them.  But at the same time, we exaggerate the bad points, shortcomings, and failings of others.  The fact that others have different abilities and skills than we have does not make us more important and more worthy than others, (verses 4,5).  Why not then give all the credit to God?  Why not soberly think as God has dealt with each one of us?  Why not give glory to God?  Remember, we are not to be wise in our own opinion.  A humble person does not focus on making a big impression on others, boasting of receiving glory and honor.  The humble will associate with those whom he can help, even if the world does not highly exalt those people.  He rejoices and weeps with others.  Some turn green with envy and jealousy and are too proud to rejoice with those who receive honor and respect.  They think they should have been the ones to be honored.  Others are just too proud to empathize or feel sorry for those who are undergoing trials. They believe that they deserve their misfortune.  (Luke 18:9-14; 14:7-11;16:15; Titus 3:2-3).
  • Serves the Needs and Interests of Others:
The one who is humble has learned to inconvenience himself to help others.  He dies to his own desires to help others receive what they need.  In Matt. 23:11-12, greatness is measured by service rendered to others.  Rather than being measured by how much honor and authority one possesses, (verses 5-10).  The world says, “If you dominate and control others, then you are important.”  Are we really that great and worthy of being exalted?  Right?  God will only exalt us when we humble ourselves to do that which is good for others, regardless of what others think.  Service makes us great in the eyes of God.  But service requires humility.  Service is not doing good to other so that they can serve us later.  It is about doing what we know would help and is pleasing to God and the other person.  Therefore, we should count others as more important and better than ourselves, (Phil. 2:3).  “Let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”  Others' priorities must be more important than mine.  We need to learn to honor one another and respect and care for each other.  We must treat each other with respect and honor even when they don't deserve it.  God does not allow us to scorn others because of their weaknesses, failings or because they are younger or older.  Jesus is our example of humility.  Though He was in heaven with God, in the form of God, He humbled Himself and came to earth as a man, obeying to the point of death.  Why did He do all this? To meet our needs and to be of service to us.  Therefore, let us have this mind among ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus.  Jesus, our Lord, demonstrated this honor when He sacrificed His life for us and died on that cruel cross out of love and honor.  We did not deserve such a great sacrifice. And just as Christ honored us, so we are to honor one another with the same self-sacrificing love.
  • Help Others Overcome Sin:
Meekness requires that we not keep quiet when others sin but rather point out their error and wrongdoing.  However, the manner in which we do this will be affected if we don't practice meekness.  “6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”  (Galatians 6:1).  Therefore, we must teach with compassion and self-control to restore the other person.  Our primary goal must be that of helping him bear his burden and so fulfill the law of Christ, (Gal. 6:2). Remember, we are trying to help and not gloat because he fell or sinned, nor to remind him you were right (exalting self over him).  You are not there to hurt his feelings (he's probably already feeling bad because of his sin); that is not what you should be seeking.  You are not there to add more fuel to his problems but rather to help him solve them.  Bear in mind that everything must be done in harmony with the Word of God and with wisdom.  Our goal is to restore his soul and bring him back to God.  Let him know that.  Be compassionate and thoughtful and let him know you care for him.

Sadly, not all sinners will be satisfied with our good manner.  Some become angry no matter how loving and caring you are when you approach them.  Remember how much the people complained about Moses and Jesus.  It is vital that you examine yourself to make sure you're not selfish and self-righteous or too wise in your own opinion when trying to teach and restore those who have fallen in sin.  Under no circumstances seek to win an argument just to prove your opponent wrong.  Don't forget you have been in the sinner's shoes before.  You also have sinned and will do so perhaps again. Approach the one to be restored with the same consideration that you would want others to approach you with.  Be consistent with the Word of God.  This will remove sharp or vigorous rebukes and even anger and bitterness.  I don't deny that sharp rebuke is needed at times.  It is much easier to be compassionate to others when you remember you have been in their shoes before. 

Avoid quarrels at all cost.  Why?  Because God has commanded us to be meek and gentle when correcting our brethren as well as our opponents.  Notice what 2 Timothy 2:24-25 has to say regarding this subject.  “24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  

It is crucial that we keep in mind that meekness is fundamental in teaching those who have been taken captive by Satan.  Our primary goal is to help them repent and to restore them to the flock and rescue them from Satan's snare.  Be helpful and have the right attitude as teachers.  We will be ineffective teachers when we have the wrong attitude and say, I'm right, you are wrong.”  I hope you will be able to see how great meekness and humility are when we are trying to defend the Truth and correct all error and wrongdoing.  Meekness is about being kind and not quarrelsome.  It is about being longsuffering, enduring evil even though we might be right.  We must avoid quarrels. Some argue just to keep from admitting that they are wrong.  They are not honest.  Why?  Because they don't care about one showing them the Truth but are just looking for anything to avoid conceding (accepting, acknowledging they're wrong).  Some get angry and lose self-control and say things they don't really mean at the moment but end up regretting later.  Remember, this could be you or me.  

Correcting error and teaching those who are antagonistic toward the Truth must be done in meekness and gentleness. When teaching about error and wrongdoing, it is vital that we grant the thought process of others.  That is, not responding with insulting words, saying he is an idiot because he can't understand evil, hell and is not able to grasp the point that you're trying to make.  Please, be meek and humble and above all be careful with your words!!  The same applies to our brethren. Why not try to put yourself in their shoes and understand the situation with great effort, reasoning with the Scriptures with all meekness and gentleness of heart?  (1 Peter 3:15).  Don't just argue without reasoning!
  
Every now and then some people just love to repeat the same arguments over and over.  They think that by talking longer and louder, they are going to win the argument.  How silly and foolish is that!! Use sound judgment and interrupt the discussion if you think they are not listening and are not sincerely heeding the evidence.  “Cool it” and wait until you and they are calmer.  Teaching is not about power.  We're God's instruments to let the Light of the Word shine through.  Teach with longsuffering and forbearance (tolerance).  Humility (lowliness) and meekness lead to longsuffering (patience) and forbearance, (Col. 3:12-13; Eph. 4:12).  Knowing this, why do you get angry and lose your temper (no self-control) when you're trying to teach and defend the Truth?  Why not seek to be meek and humble and continue in your efforts, instead of giving up just because the other person has disobeyed God's Word?  What would have happened to you and me if God had given up on us every time we failed to do what He's taught us?  Be wise!  Why not tolerate (forbear) those things or those we don't like?  Why not suffer the personal slights of those we're teaching?  Remember not to give up and retaliate, but keep teaching the Truth!  Understand that most sinners when rebuked will most likely turn on us and find fault when we're teaching them. Don't quit teaching even if you're tempted to do it.  Don't give up teaching just because you're criticized!  Indeed, it takes a meek and humble person to press on and keep on doing that which is good despite hardship.  Do you know that meekness and humility is also a characteristic of wisdom from above, (James 3:17)?  Wisdom is sometimes taking a back seat to others; putting the will and interests of other above ours.  Wisdom is listening to what others have to say rather than being argumentative just because we think we are right.  Take heed!
  • Strive for Unity, Peace, and Harmony:
“2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance (forbearance) for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  (Eph. 4:2-3)
Humility supplies peace and unity.  How?  A humble person is willing to submit for the good of others.  He does nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit but with humility regarding others as more important than himself, (Phil. 2:2-3).  On the contrary, the proud, conceited and arrogant man is too concerned about his ideas and ways.  He is not aware that this will lead to strife and division.  He is blind and not able to see that he's causing conflict (doctrinal) when he insists on following his foolish ways and way of thinking rather than God's ways and thoughts, (Isa. 55:8-9).  He will stubbornly insist that others accept his foolish ideas and ways. He refuses (not willing) to concede.  This will, of course, lead to conflict.  

The meek and humble avoids envy at all cost and is willing to yield, (James 3:13-18).  Alas, how often is peace ruined because of envy and jealousy!  It is worldly and devilish!  God's wisdom is pure then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. The proud is also envious when others receive honor and praise.  The meek does not care to be exalted or who gets the glory as long as righteousness prevails (good is done).  He will die to self for the good of others.

Meekness demands doctrinal purity as well.  To allow error to stand without challenge (correction) is not meekness.  Peace at any price leads to unity in sin. The meek will please God first.  He is willing to listen (reason) for the sake of the wellbeing of others, doing that which is righteous before God. Under no circumstances will he pressure anyone with his own desires and intentions to harm the church.  He is also willing to forgive rather than retaliate.  Meekness and humility are willing to forgive when others repent, (Col. 3:12-13).  He is aware that he too was a sinner and is ready to forgive others as they seek God to forgive them.  Bear in mind that God will not forgive us if we don't forgive others, (Matt. 6:12ff).  So, what is it that keeps so many from forgiving others?  Why is it that we keep holding grudges even when others have repented?  Why not bless our persecutors rather than taking vengeance on them?  Why try to “get even” and not make things right?  Why not make right the wrongs others have committed against us?  Why not be humble and strive for peace rather than vengeance?  Pride is the answer to all of these problems.  So, what is the cure to pride?  Meekness and humility!  

CONCLUSION:

God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud, (James 4:6).  God's grace is greater than man's sin,  (Rom. 5:20).  God's grace is not available to those who want to remain in sin and fail to turn from it.  The proud and self-centered person is primarily concerned with themselves and their own desires.  They are not willing to humbly submit to God and resist the snares of the devil, (James 4:7). God will indeed resist them and will not forgive them until they humble themselves.  Meekness and humility (submission to God) is the path to God's grace.  It is the remedy for pride!  It is the solution for selfishness, self-centeredness, worldliness and ungodliness.  It is the answer for religious division!  It does the will of God rather than what one desires.  It is vital to keep in mind that submission to God is also the remedy to all bickering, verbal conflicts, and spiritual unfaithfulness.  Submitting to God is a quality of humility.  The humble recognizes that God is greater and above ourselves.  He esteems others as better than himself, (Phil. 2:3).  The humble and meek will put himself under God's rule.  He will live by the Word of God.  He will do those things which please God.  We must learn to train ourselves to be humble toward God, His Word, and toward one another. Humility and meekness demand the renewing and transformation of our minds.  It is the only way to stand right before God.  Meekness and humility will lead to serving one another, knowing one another and honoring one another as God has commanded.

The meek and humble person puts God first, others second and himself last.  Pride leads to destruction.  Be careful of pride, haughtiness, and arrogance!  It is a dangerous little fox that can kill our souls and rob us of heaven and our reward.  It always leads us to fall away from God.  Pride is among those sins that God hates, (Prov. 6:16-19).  It is destructive to self, our relationships with others and mainly to our relationship with God.  Pride delights in boasting and is the greatest enemy of repentance.  It causes us to look down on others.  Pride spoils meekness and humility.  The one who is meek is gentle in spirit, disciplined and mostly self-controlled.  The meek and humble rule in God's kingdom.  The proud will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  The meek and humble mourns over his sins.  He trusts in the Lord and finds delight in Him as well.  His hope is in God and not in the pleasures of this world, himself, his achievements or abilities. 

Meekness is not weakness or lack of power.  In fact, it assumes a state of power and strength that remains under control.  Authority is exercised with gentleness, putting the interests of others above our own.  It is essential that we practice humility and gentleness when correcting our brethren and are teaching the lost.  It will reflect wisdom from above that God requires of us.  We are commanded to help others in the spirit of gentleness and not use our power or strength to our own advantage. Husbands are to submit their own interests to the best interests of the family.  Fathers are to humbly submit their authority to rear their children in the way of the Lord.  Wives, are to submit their own interests humbly to the best interests of their family.  We are to control ourselves with meekness and humility.  The meek and humble heart is willing to receive the Word of God and allow it to mold and transform his life.

So if you are struggling with pride or even arrogance, beware that there is more hope for a fool than for you.  Start diligently humbling yourself under the mighty hands of God, that He may exalt you.   Remember that “It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”  (Prov. 16:19).   So, where do you stand before God?  Are you living in pride or arrogance, thinking that there will be no Judgment Day?  Are you living as if you are in control of everything?  Are you relying on God and not yourself?  Are you too proud to admit your faults or sins?  Are you too proud to humbly ask forgiveness?  Are you too proud to go to that person you have sinned against and admit to him that you have sinned or done wrong?  Are you too proud to say “I am sorry” when you are wrong?  Are you too proud to speak and associate with certain brethren?  Are you too proud to associate with those who are below you?  Are you too proud to forgive those who sin against you?  Are you too proud to teach the gospel to the lost, the homosexual, the alcoholic, the prostitute, in a few words those who practice lawlessness? Is pride taking control over your life?  Are you proud in your pride?  Are you proud in your speech?  In your plans?   Are you too proud to let others know you are a Christian at your job, school, everywhere?  Does your life live up to God's standards of meekness and humility?  Are you putting the needs of others above your own?  Are you submitting to God with all meekness and humility and correcting your sins?  Are you exercising meekness and humility toward God?  Be honest and answer those questions and repent accordingly!

May we cultivate meekness and exercise humility rather than pride and arrogance.  May we humble ourselves before God and others that He may exalt us.  May we serve, honor, respect and learn from one another with humility and meekness of heart.  May we never under any circumstances allow pride to cause us to sin against God and others.  May we have a humble and meek heart to admit our weaknesses, sinfulness, and unprofitableness and repent of them. May we honor others, serving their needs and interests rather than exalting ourselves.   May we never drift away from God's path because of pride.  May we never allow pride to destroy our relationships with others and especially with God. May we help others overcome sin with meekness, compassion, and self-control.  May we always show a gentle spirit, acting according to God's principles of righteousness.  May we appreciate God, trust Him and give Him the glory rather than exalting ourselves.

Luci