Inside: How does a humble person live differently from one who is prideful?
Humility is simply thinking rightly of ourselves as we compare ourselves to the Lord. We are going to walk through ten comparisons of when our thinking is prideful versus when we are walking in humility before the Lord.
Today’s episode is from an older blog post that I wanted to expand on for some time so that you may have read 10 Characteristics of Humility at the blog in the past, but I wanted to expand on each of those and work through a bit more on the topic of humility.
Listen to EP 130: 10 Manifestations of Humility or Read the Post Below:
From Pride to Humility by Stuart Scott
Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
Humility: The Forgotten Virtue by Wayne Mack
We all know what a battle pride can be for us, or at least I know it is for me. The only purpose pride has is self-glorification; it robs God of His glory and seeks to bring us glory.
One resource I kept returning to is a powerful booklet by Stuart Scott called From Pride to Humility. I was giving it a re-read, as I really should do more often than I do, and I wanted to share some of my notes and takeaways with you.
So we are going to walk through what are the characteristics of a humble person And how does a humble person live differently from one who is prideful?
Charles Spurgeon said:
“Every Christian has a choice between being humble or being humbled,” and it reminds me how often the Lord has to humble me.
By God’s grace, we must keep resisting sin’s power and control in our lives. Romans 7:22-25 remind us that if we are redeemed, we can joyfully agree with God’s law. We can give thanks to the Lord, and we know we will triumph in this struggle against the ugly sin of pride because Jesus Christ is our Deliver. So we need to continue to persevere and fight the good fight.
Humility is defined as “a personal quality in which an individual shows dependence on God and respect for other persons.”
Stuart Scott, in his booklet, defines humility as:
“The mindset of Christ—a servant’s mindset—a focus on God and others, a pursuit of the recognition and the exaltation of God, and a desire to glorify and please God in all things and by all things He has given.”
The choice I would like to make is to be humble and not to be humbled. Unfortunately, the latter happens more frequently in my life than in the former.
How does a humble person live differently from one who is prideful? This list below is not exhaustive, but maybe it will be a start for you to make your list of areas that you need to be mindful of when we think of how gracious our God is towards us and that we have no right to be prideful in any area of our lives.How does a humble person live differently from one who is prideful?
Stuart Scott’s booklet has a list of manifestations of pride that helps us see self-righteousness in our lives and a list of manifestations of humility to evaluate how a humble person lives differently than a prideful person.
The hope today in this post and podcast is to help us begin to recognize pride in our lives and not just recognize it but to say the same thing God says about it, confess it, and repent of it. Pride is sin, and all sin is an abomination to the Lord, so we must come to a place of humble repentance and to a place of seeing ourselves rightly before the Lord and giving God the glory He deserves.
“Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.”John Calvin
Humility is simply thinking rightly of ourselves as we compare ourselves to the Lord.
Below are ten comparisons of when our thinking is prideful versus when we are walking in humility before the Lord. The prideful attitudes are ones we would want to put off, and the attitudes of Humility are ones we should desire to put on.
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ten Manifestations of Pride vs. Humility:
Prideful people may complain against God regarding their circumstances or challenging situations in their lives. They will find themselves questioning God and his goodness.
Humble people will trust in the sovereignty of God. They see themselves rightly before their Creator and know that God is perfect in all His judgments, and they don’t feel the need to question God. Spend time in Romans 8 & 9.
Prideful people lack gratitude, and they find themselves being complainers and not thankful to the Lord and others. They may be critical and discontent.
Humble people are thankful people. They find themselves thanking the Lord and others often, and they don’t have expectations of what they deserve, so they are genuinely grateful for anything they receive. They give thanks to the Lord in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), even the hard things, and trust that God is working out all things for good.
Prideful people have forgotten the gospel. They forget to acknowledge their total dependence on the Lord. The focus has turned to self and away from the Lord.
Humble people are in awe of God’s goodness and grace toward them. They know they are sinners destined and deserving of Hell and that our gracious Savior raised us from the dead and gave us new life in Christ. All undeserved. We need to revisit this reminder often in our hearts and minds. (See Romans 6:23 and Psalm 116:12-19. Revisit EP 69: Preaching the Gospel to Yourself.)
Prideful people get jealous or envious of others. They may find themselves boasting about what they’re doing, focusing primarily on themselves and sharing their accomplishments and all they’re doing. (Proverbs 17:2; Galatians 6:3 and 1 Corinthians 13:4.)
Humble people can rejoice with others. They can celebrate when others are successful, being reminded everything we have been blessed with is from the Lord. They are interested in what others are doing and how the Lord is working in their lives. They seek ways to build others up (Romans 12:15).
Prideful people see themselves as better than others. Their way is the right way. Their opinion is the right opinion. They will voice their opinion or preferences whether or not they are asked for it, and there is usually no consideration for others. They may have little tolerance for others and their differences (Philippians 2:1-4).
Humble people practice unity based on their salvation. We are never going to see eye to eye with everyone. We are not to set aside doctrinal truth and compromise the Gospel in any way, but we are to set aside personal opinions and preferences for the sake of unity (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Prideful people are wise in their own eyes. They may have a wrong or inflated view of themselves. Stuart Scott stated: “They are a legend in their own mind, but what they really need is a loving dose of reality. They need to hear, ‘What do you have that God didn’t give you” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Humble people are not wise in their own eyes. The sin of intellectual pride is ugly. Adam and Eve thought they knew more than God, which led to disaster. Leon Morris states it well, “The person who is wise in his own eyes is rarely so in the eyes of other people” (Proverbs 3:7). They accurately view their gifts and abilities. They don’t complain that they are not gifted as others and don’t boast about their abilities. Credit is given to the Lord (Romans 12:3).
Prideful people have unforgiving hearts. They may harbor bitterness or anger towards another. They may rarely admit their need for forgiveness from others either because they can’t see it, because of the sin of pride or because they aren’t able to humble themselves before another person and seek forgiveness. Sometimes unforgiveness or anger comes about because the prideful person feels their “rights” or expectations haven’t been met.
A humble person forgives quickly because they are mindful that they have been forgiven much. They are mindful of the Gospel and the forgiveness they have received in Christ. They desire to be peacemakers (Colossians 3:12-14).
Prideful people are not teachable; they may be know-it-alls. It may not surface outwardly, but it is going on inside them. They can struggle with being criticized or corrected. They may determine they have nothing to learn from anyone else.
Humble people have a teachable spirit. They understand that they don’t know everything and can learn much from others by listening. They see a reproof as something the Lord may be trying to teach or show them. They are open to listening to others even when they think their way is the right way. They realize they may have something to learn or not see things as clearly as they think (2 Peter 3:18, Proverbs 9:8; Proverbs 27:5-6; 1 Corinthians 4:7).
Prideful people tear others down and maximize others’ sins and shortcomings. They see other people as the problem and may find themselves gossiping or slandering others.
Humble people build others up. They don’t see themselves as better than others, and they understand, as the apostle, Paul did, that they are the worst of sinners and can say, as John Bradford did, “but for the grace of God I go.” They do not gossip or slander but speak well of others. They only convey something negative about another person if it is for their good (Proverbs 11:13; Romans 12:16; Ephesians 3:8). If we applied Ephesians 4:29 in our lives, there would be much peace in our homes and churches.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Prideful people aren’t focused on serving others but on what they can get. They may not even think of others, or if they do, they think in terms of “what can I get from others.” They may not want to serve if there is no recognition or praise in it for them. They would serve with the wrong motives (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 2:10).
Humble people have servant’s hearts. They are always looking for opportunities to serve others. They are washing the feet of the saints. Loving and serving others selflessly is the mark of their lives (Galatians 5:13-14).
So we walked through ten areas, but I want to share a few more manifestations of humility from Stuart Scott’s booklet with you to ponder on with me:
Focus on Christ: The humble see Christ as their life and first love. There is no other thing or person that they must have. Throughout the day, they talk to and worship Him often (Phil 1:21; Heb 12:1-2).
They are gentle and patient and want to act like God. They are not focused on what they want. They also want to love others the way God loves them. They are willing to wait and are not easily irritated (Colossians 3:12-14).
They are good listeners. They consider what others have to say as more important than what they have to say. They take an interest in others by asking questions and listening. Self is not their primary focus (James 1:19; Phil 2:3-4).
Repentance is a way of life for them. A humble person asks God daily for forgiveness and works towards real change (1 John 1:9; 1 Timothy 4:7-9).
They are honest and open about who they are and the areas they need growth. They humbly ask for help and accountability in the repentance process, knowing they need their brothers and sisters (Phil 3:12-14; Galatians 6:2).
In our short time, we can see how our lives are marked either by humility or pride. Can we see areas of pride that we struggle with to ask the Lord for help?
Here are final thoughts from Stuart Scott’s booklet, From Pride to Humility, he lists ten ways to be intentional in moving from pride to Humility:
- Humble yourself with the Gospel and a cross-centered perspective (James 4:7) (See Spiritual Discipline Series or EP 69: Preaching the Gospel to Yourself).
- Pray for God to search your heart by His Spirit with His Word and to help you repent of pride and grow in Humility (Psalm 139).
- Study Jesus (His earthly example, especially in the Gospels, Matthew 11:28-30). Focus on His Humility.
- Ask others if you come across as prideful in any way. You would do well to have a few people close to you review your self-evaluation of pride and humility (he’s referencing the evaluations he has in his booklet) and give their thoughts on your assessment. Remember, pride can be blinding.
- Spend as much focused time as possible worshipping God (Examples: praising, prayer, reading, and meditating). Be sure to center on the love of God demonstrated at the Cross.
- Practice the “one another” principles. (Stuart Scoot has an excellent book called 31 Ways to Be a One Another Christian, and his podcast Care of Souls walks through them too).
- Work to put off pride and put on Humility at the level of your thoughts and motives.
- Work to put off pride and put on humility at the level of your communication.
- Work to put off pride and put on humility at the level of your deeds.
- Have the mindset that humility must be a way of life (Phil 2:3).
In C.J. Mahaney’s book on Humility, he shares a conversation with Don Carson regarding a theologian who was known for his Humility named Carl Henry. When Dr. Carson asked Mr. Henry how he had remained humble for so many decades, he responded:
“How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the Cross.”
That needs to sum it up for us. How can we allow pride to take a foothold in any area of our lives when we stand beside the cross?
“Far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness, and we can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit.”John Stott