Humility Would be Easy, if Not for My Pride

Wayne Stiles's picture

I pulled up behind a line of cars at a stoplight, and a guy on a skateboard whizzed past me.

Like fast.

He held his arms above his head and swayed back and forth, leaning into each turn and showing his skills to those of us stopped at the light.

As he approached the intersection, he leaned to turn in the direction of the oncoming traffic but his skateboard fell out from under him. He and his skateboard (and his skills) flew into the middle of the intersection where the traffic zoomed both directions—toward him!

A large van swerved to miss the guy and hit his skateboard, bending it and sending it spiraling twenty feet in the air. After ten seconds of screeching tires, scrambling feet, and lots of yelling, Mr. Center-of-Attention grabbed his skateboard and limped off to hide somewhere.

It was the most entertainment I ever had at a stoplight.

And it made me think of life in general.

After the light turned green, I couldn’t help but think of a verse:

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

We Love Humility in Others—and Pride in Ourselves

Honestly, we love to see humility in others—like in Olympic athletes or the occasional movie star. But in ourselves? We begin with the assumption we’re humble, and we secretly feed on pride.

Marketers know this. Just look at the magazines at the grocery store: Vanity Fair, Body Builder, Self. I keep looking for magazines called Humility and You, or Servanthood Today, or Love Illustrated (though that last one would generate some interest).

The songwriter we know as King David wrote these words:

“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.” —Psalm 131:1

The desire we have to be in control is rooted in pride, and pride stems from independence. God designed us to be dependent on Him, not independent from Him.

Pride’s First Temptation Still Tugs

Remember what Satan told the woman in the Garden of Eden?

“God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” —Genesis 3:5

The temptation to be like God undid our first parents. What they thought would benefit them actually became their undoing! And it is this pride—of having to control everything, of always being right (even when we’re not), and of refusing to say, “I’m sorry”—that has ruined many a family and many a life.

Humility Trades Worry for Trust

Are you trying to control things too difficult for you? Here are 3 steps toward the peace of mind humility can offer:

  1. Accept the limitations you have as a human being. This admission is not a handicap, but it’s a benefit to you. It forces you to depend upon God who is all-powerful.
  2. Trust in God to control what you cannot. And that’s pretty much everything.
  • You can’t control your health.
  • You can’t control your job.
  • You can’t control your cars.
  • You can’t control your kids.
  • You can’t control your spouse.
  • You can’t control your skateboard.

All of these are affected by you, but you control none of them. David admitted this. But his words—rather than representing an attitude of apathy or of indifference—are a statement of trust in God’s sovereignty.
3. Memorize Psalm 131:1. King David wrote, “I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.” Quote the verse out loud when you’re in the car (or when you see someone skateboarding).

David chose humility and refused to worry about what he couldn’t control.

Let’s choose to do the same.

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