Recently I hung a piece of paper up in my room with a message for myself. On the left side of the paper is simply the word “be” and on the right side is a list of five words. The first word at the top of the list is humble. For me, one of my most constant struggles is my pride. Everyone who knows me is nodding their head in agreement right now. I’m incredibly prideful and stubborn and a laundry list of other things both good and bad. Luckily for me, we have a gracious God who loves us despite our flaws.
I wanted to come here and write about humility and how important it is. I can’t do that though. Don’t get me wrong, I have little hesitation in stating that humility is one of the most important things in life. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6 NIV). It’s right there in the Bible and I’m not gonna argue with Scripture. What I’m saying is that I’m not qualified to talk about humility when I’m living with so much pride.
Now I think there is a trend in our culture where we deny any talent or ability that we have in order to be “humble.” This is not humility in my understanding. In my understanding, humility is the acknowledgment of your God-given gifts with the intention of bringing glory to God through being who God created you to be and doing what God has created you for. I think that everyone can understand the concept of pride being “I did this, this was all me, look at me I’m awesome and stuff.” Our culture has a great understanding of what it means to be prideful because it’s something we see all around us and is almost encouraged of us by society.
I don’t want to sit here and talk about that type of pride; we all understand it. I understand it and still struggle with it. I’m working on it but I don’t have a lot of great advice to give or anything revolutionary to share. What I do want to talk about today is the pride that I’ve noticed has been hiding much more subtly in my life in hopes that maybe it’s something you can use.
The way that pride has seeped into my life is in me saying “I’m not good enough.” I’ve always lived the lie that this is humility, that humility is me denying my worth and my value and not getting headstrong and cocky. That is what I’ve tried to achieve. Surprisingly, maybe less surprisingly for those who know me, I was wrong. That’s not humility; that is pride to the core. Twisted, manipulative, soul-crushing pride.
In denying who I am, denying my gifts and my abilities given to me by God, denying what I have been given to work with for God’s glory, I am denying the greatness of God. God has created each and every one of his people with a great deal of love and purpose. To deny that I have gifts, a purpose, or an ability to serve is something I have begun to recognize as pride in my life. I’ve struggled in my life with self-worth and often hold too tightly to the belief that I’m flawed so deeply that God could never use me.
Paul himself says, “Christ died to save sinners, of which I am the worst.” There is precedence for realizing that we are flawed and fallen creatures. However, I believe that when we realize we are fallen it should not be to tear ourselves down. It should be to realize the greatness of God in us. Instead, the struggle many people fall into is believing we are too flawed to do what God is calling us to do, and that someone else will come along to do it. Pride is denying God’s desires for us in favor of believing we know better.
God’s will for us is to know we are loved and that He wants to use us for great things. Let go of the pride that comes in that claims there is a flaw in God’s creation. Let go of the pride that says “I’m so messed up God can’t use me.” Let go of the pride that drives a wedge between you and God. Humbly seek the loving God who created you and humbly seek the path He would have for you, trusting Him to supply you with what you need when you get there. Those are my thoughts previously. Take them for what they are worth to you. But I want to end with this last statement that I know for fact to be true: There is no lack of skill, nor anything you may have done in the past, that can prevent God from using you if you are a willing servant seeking God’s path for your life.