Summary: Humility recognizes that what I am and what I can ultimately be is by the grace of God. The result is humble pride leads to eternal confidence.
Luke 18:9-14 (New International Version)
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10¡§Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ¡¥God, I thank you that I am not like other men¡Xrobbers, evildoers, adulterers¡Xor even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.¡¦
13¡§But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ¡¥God, have mercy on me, a sinner.¡¦
14¡§I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.¡¨
INTRODUCTION: The cancer of pride.
Vince Lombardi was the coach of the Green Bay Packers during their glory years in the 1960s. Lombardi was known for his monstrous ego, unwavering self-confidence and gargantuan pride. Stories about Lombardi abound - some fact, some fiction. One story tells of the occasion when Lombardi was at a championship playoff game. His wife was not able to attend the game. The odds were against the Packers winning the game, but they won the game anyhow. Coach Lombardi was thrilled with his team’s winning effort. When he got home, his wife was already in bed fast asleep. But when his ice-cold feet touched her legs, she said, "God, your feet are cold." Quick as a flash, Lombardi replied, "When we’re in bed, just call me Vince."
Pride has been elevated to the level of a virtue in the world of American sports and entertainment. We chuckle about stories of proud people, like Lombardi’s cold feet. But we’re nauseated when we come face to face with an arrogant person who looks down his nose at us like we’re a lower form of life.
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) calls pride a spiritual cancer that eats up the very possibility of love and contentment, and even common sense (Mere Christianity). Pride is 1 of the 7 deadly sins. Pride is a spiritual cancer that damages our souls, harms everyone in its path and breaks God’s heart.
Jesus condemns the sin of pride in the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector in Luke 18 because he knows what an inaccurate picture such arrogant pride can bring.
Yet at times we have made the mistake of going to far to the other extreme, as if being humble is equated with being humiliated.
True greatness in God’s eyes comes not in exalting ourselves over others. True greatness comes in humbling ourselves as servants of others. Christ exemplified humility in humbling Himself in becoming a man and dying on the cross. Stay proud. As it says through out the Bible, pride goeth before the fall.
Did you know that the word humility comes from the word humus which means soil or dirt? God created us out of the dust of the earth. One day we all return to the dirt once again. We are what we are by the grace of God.
Yet humility is more than just a recognition of a dirt beginning, real humility is a recognition of divine action through our lives. The danger of pride is that we defy ourselves, equating our value with God’s. Humility recognizes that what I am and what I can ultimately be is by the grace of God.
Instead of humiliation or arrogant pride lets look for a better way, one of humble pride that leads to eternal confidence that by God’s grace and God’s will, God has an awesome purpose to fulfill in our lives. Today let’s look at 4 markers of humble pride that leads to eternal confidence in living life each day.
Humble Pride Leads to Eternal Confidence
MARKER 1. Be honest in my NEED for God. Someone in our day who has a prideful self-centeredness we say has the disease of Narcissism. The name comes from Greek mythology and refers to a handsome young man name Narcissus who fell in love with himself. Whenever he would come along a pool of clear water, he would look at his reflection for hours admiring the view.
One day he said to himself, "You are handsome, Narcissus! There’s nobody so handsome in the whole world!" He stooped down to kiss his reflection, fell into the water, and drowned.
To people who have fallen into that Narcissistic view of their lives, Luke tells us in, Luke 18:9, Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else. -- (Contemporary English Version)
In this parable, Jesus calls us to humility. The best definition I’ve ever heard of humility is: "Humility is not denying the power you have but admitting that the power comes through and not from you." If you deny the power you’ve been given, you lie. It you have a fine singing voice, then use it and give glory to God. If you make the best chocolate chip cookies, then make some and bring them tot he church office marked attention Pastor Burkey.