Being passionate about humility is another key ingredient you need to live a victorious Christian life. Moreover, God hates pride. Pride is a great eliminator. However, He is magnetically attracted to those who walk in humility. We must learn to recognize and reject pride and cultivate a heart of humility.
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.” – Acts 2:42
We have learned in a previous lesson that the phrase “continued steadfastly” carries the idea of addiction. This indicates that the Early Church was addicted to the leadership of the apostles and the sound doctrine they taught. They were totally submitted to their God-given authority. To have this level of commitment, they had to have humility in their hearts.
Moreover. God was attracted to them because of the humility in which they walked. Therefore, as a result, He consistently manifested His presence in the form of signs, wonders, miracles, healings, and the salvation of many. Furthermore, this is what God desires to do today. However, to experience this level of His glory, we must get pride out of the way.
The lessons in this study of 10 Ways to be a Stronger Christian are based on a study I completed by Rick Renner Ministries.
The precious Word of God states in Romans 8:1 (MEV): There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Therefore, do not allow the Adversary to bring condemnation for areas throughout this study series where you may be weak. Ask your Heavenly Father to help you become stronger and He will!
Scriptures Referenced in this Lesson
- 1 Corinthians 10:12
- Acts 2:42
- Ezekiel 28:12
- Isaiah 14:12-15; 57:15; 66:2
- James 4:6
- Psalm 34:18; 51:17
Looking at the Greek Meanings
By looking at the Greek meanings behind the translated words we gain a greater understanding of what the Early Church understood the Apostles say.
- “proud” — (huperephanos): a person who sees himself above the rest of the crowd;
- one who is arrogant, haughty, or high-and-mighty;
- one who thinks he is advantaged above others
- “humble” — (tapeinos): pictures one who has become humble; to:
- reduce one’s self-importance
- make small
- minimize oneself
- be willing to stoop to any measure that is needed
Lucifer: A Picture of Pride
Therefore, to understand humility, we must also understand pride. Pride is the exact opposite of humility, and God hates it. Consequently, even before time began, God has been against pride and has dealt with it swiftly. Such was the case with Lucifer.
The Bible says Lucifer was “the anointed cherub that covers.” He was a very high-ranking angel who served in the very presence of God. The name “Lucifer” means light-bearer, light-reflector, or one who refracts light. Scripture says he was covered with every precious stone imaginable.
Lucifer’s pride represents the actual beginning of sin in the universe, preceding the fall of the human Adam by an indeterminate time. Sin originated in the free will of Lucifer. Moreover, with the full understanding of the issues involved, he chose to rebel against the Creator.
Ezekiel 28:12-17 gives us a snapshot of Lucifer’s creation and his service near God’s throne:
The Anointed Cherub
… Thus says the Lord God:
You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering [Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone (NLT)]: the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold. The workmanship of your settings and sockets was in you; on the day that you were created, they were prepared.
You were the anointed cherub that covers [the mighty angelic guardian (NLT)], and I set you there; you were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect [blameless (NLT)] in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity [evil] was found in you.
By the multitude of your merchandise, you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane [banished you in disgrace (NLT)] out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was lifted up [filled with pride (NLT)] because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness; I cast you to the ground, I lay you before kings, that they may see you. – Ezekiel 28:12-17 (MEV)
The iniquity of pride is what led to Lucifer’s downfall. His heart was lifted up in pride because of his beauty. As a result of his brightness, his thinking became corrupt and he sinned against God. Isaiah gives us a glimpse of what was going on inside Lucifer’s heart and mind.
Lucifer’s Five “I Will” Statements
Isaiah 14:12-15 states:
“How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, “I will…
- ascend into heaven,
- exalt my throne above the stars of God;
- sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the recesses of the north;
- ascend above the heights of the clouds,
- be like the Most-High.”
Yet you shall be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit.” – Isaiah 14:12-15 (MEV)
Pride utterly deceived Lucifer. Consequently. He became so impressed with his own beauty and position that Lucifer forgot he was a created being and was a reflection of the glory of God. Moreover, he served in his exalted position at God’s throne because of God’s desire not because Lucifer was so worthy of the position.
Pride deluded him into thinking that somehow, he was generating his God-given blessings and talents on his own. Consequently, he became discontent and dissatisfied with His God-given position. He began to think he deserved more honor and more prestige. Consequently, as his exaggerated opinion of his own self-importance grew, he eventually attempted to exalt himself above God. At that point, God swiftly moved into action and hurled Lucifer out of Heaven.
Pride is an eliminator. It eliminated Lucifer from his God-given position and purpose in the very presence of God. Furthermore, this elimination can also be seen in the lives of people all throughout the Scriptures.
Pride Was the Downfall of Absalom
In the Old Testament, we read the story of Absalom, one of King David’s sons (see 2 Samuel 14:25 through 2 Samuel 18:18). He was an extremely handsome and charismatic man like David, but had he not been David’s son, no one would have known him. As Lucifer reflected God’s glory, so Absalom reflected the glory of his father David.
Consequently, as a result of David’s great fame and influence, Absalom became known and loved throughout Israel. Over time, his good looks and reputation went to his head, and he became lifted up in pride. He lost sight of the fact that he was merely a reflector of his father’s glory. Moreover, he foolishly thought he was better than David and avidly sought to overthrow his own father and take his place as Israel’s king. However, like Lucifer, pride eliminated Absalom. His life was cut short and his brilliance extinguished.
Pride Was the Downfall of Judas
In the New Testament, we find the story of Judas Iscariot woven throughout the gospels. As a high-ranking member of Jesus’ ministry team, he served as the treasurer and handled all the financial decisions. That placed him near Jesus all the time.
Without question, the glory of Christ shone brightly on all those who were close to Him, including Judas. He became highly visible and received much attention. Over time, he became lifted up in pride. After betraying the Son of God, he took his own life.
In all three of these individuals, Lucifer, Absalom, and Judas were a reflection of someone else’s glory. Consequently, pride blinded them, and they began to think more highly of themselves than they should have. They forgot that they were merely reflectors and began to believe they were generating their wisdom, beauty, and glory on their own. As a result, pride eliminated them. Those who have pride working in their heart will eventually be eliminated.
God Resists the Proud
The Bible clearly reveals that God hates pride. In Proverbs 6:16-19, we find seven things that the Lord hates. Pride is number one on this list. According to Proverbs 13:10, pride is the root source of all contention and strife.
James 4:6 says, “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.….” The word “resists” means to stand against. Sometimes the resistance one feels is not from the enemy, but rather from God. He is resisting that person because he or she is in pride.
The word “proud” in the Greek is the word huperephanos, and it describes a person who sees himself above the rest of the crowd; one who is arrogant, haughty, or high-and-mighty in his thinking; one who thinks he is advantaged above others.
This is a person who thinks more highly of himself than he should, and if he continues in this vein, he will be eliminated from his position in life.
Pride can be fatal, and you should learn to recognize it, hate it, and avoid it. Do everything you can to get a handle on pride. If you don’t get a handle on it, the devil will find it as a handle in your life and grab hold of it. He will use it to manipulate you into doing his dirty work, and because of pride’s blinding effect, you will likely be clueless of his influence and control over your life.
Hear and heed God’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12:
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.”
It would be wise to ask the Lord from time to time to show you if there are any issues of pride in your life that need to be corrected. This simple act of humility could save you from much heartache and even self-destruction.
God Gives Grace to the Humble
Looking again at James 4:6, it says, “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
The word “humble” in this verse is the Greek word tapeinos, and it is a picture of one who has become humble. It means to reduce one’s self-importance, to make small, to minimize oneself, and be willing to stoop to any measure that is needed. This describes a person who has a modest view of himself, not an exaggerated view.
Being humble does not mean you put yourself down or berate yourself internally or in front of others. It simply means you have a modest view of who you are and what you have accomplished.
While pride repels the presence of God, humility attracts Him. Like a magnet attracts metal, humility in your heart will magnetically attract the presence, power, and favor of God.
Always keep in mind that you are never too small for God to use, but you may be too big for God to use. You may be willing to do great things for God, but first He must find you willing to do small things.
The Person God likes to Use
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”- Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” – Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
“…The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts..” – Isaiah 57:15 (NLT)
“…My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.” – Isaiah 66:2 (NLT)
The above verses are talking about our attitude. Being contrite and humble means having a modest opinion of yourself. When you are humble, you attract the presence of God. Walking in humility also sets you out of the devil’s reach. In the absence of pride, he finds it more difficult to get a handle on you. Having a passion for humility will keep you strong, stable, and useful in the Kingdom of God.
Questions for Consideration
- Learning from the mistakes of others is wise and can keep you from great heartache. Carefully reread the details of Lucifer’s downfall.
- What is the Holy Spirit showing you from his example that you’ve not seen before?
- How does it motivate you with reverential fear to steer clear of pride?
- The rewards of walking in humility are abundant. Read the following verses from God’s Word and highlight all the blessings connected with humility.
- Psalm 25:9
- Proverbs 11:2; 22:4; 29:23
- Matthew 18:4; 23:12
- James 4:10
How can you learn to walk in humility?
Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30 along with Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2:3-11 for the answer.
- Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart can so deceitful that we can fail to understand what’s going on inside it. But God searches our hearts and can reveal to us its true condition.
- Take a moment to pray: “Lord, are there any issues of pride in my heart? Do I have an exaggerated opinion of myself that I’m unable to see? Please show me.” Be still and listen. What is the Holy Spirit revealing to you?
Through the apostle Paul, God warns each of us “…not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment…” (Romans 12:3 AMPC).
- If you have battled with pride, take a moment to pray and make things right with God.
- “Lord, please forgive me for being prideful and being overly impressed with my abilities and achievements. Create in me a spirit of humility like Jesus. Give me a healthy, balanced view of who I am in Christ. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Scriptures used are from biblegateway.com and unless otherwise noted, I’m using the New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.