Summary: Everyday and throughout the day, we choose between humility and pride. But how important is this choice? According to Peter, very important.
HUMILITY IS A VIRTUE, NOT A VICE
1. Humility can be one of the toughest challenges of the Christian life.
2. Leonard Bernstein was once asked which instrument was the most difficult to play. He thought for a moment and then replied, "The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm - that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony." (elbourne.org)
3. Most Christians sort of know what humility is.
4. In the OT, humility is sometimes translated "affliction." In OT we see this correlation: when Israel became proud, God afflicted (or humbled) the nation. When Israel humbled herself, God exalted (or delivered) the nation. Humility addressed an attitude toward the sovereign God and toward others.
5. The Greek philosophers had a different view of their word for "humility." The Greek work more or less implies the concept of degrading oneself and wallowing in the mire.
6. So the NT authors had the task of taking the Greek word and giving it more of an OT Hebrew flavor. Unfortunately, the European languages still leave us with a bit of that Greek flavor…that humility = being humiliated or trying to think of yourself as scum.
7. Regarding the New Testament meaning of the Greek word, “?????????” Colin Brown writes, “The demand to humble oneself like the …not mean that one should make oneself lower than one actually is. Rather, one should know, like the child, how lowly one really is. Humility is to know how lowly we really are before God."
8. Paul wrote that we should "not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think of ourselves with sound judgment" (Rom. 12:3). Pride is a lack of sound judgment about ourselves. Humility is simply aligning ourselves with reality, bypassing our natural propensity to replace God with ourselves and withdrawing from thinking I am capable of ranking myself in comparison to others. I view myself as part of a team rather than God’s star athlete. I view myself as part of my family, community, workforce, church, or neighborhood –which is, in turn, less than perfect and certainly not a God replacement.
9. The fiction character Sherlock Holmes stated: "My dear Watson, I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers."
10. Holmes is right; the problem is that the common definition of humility implies lying to ourselves. The only difference is that we compare our strengths to God’s, and thus align our judgment.
Main idea: Everyday and throughout the day, we choose between humility and pride. But how important is this choice? According to Peter, very important.
I. People With AUTHORITY Issues Lack Humility (5a)
A. Submission to authority and humility are DIRECTLY connected
1. Humility might be defined as, "not thinking more highly of ourselves than we should."