Spiritual growth takes humility; pride kills it, where do we get humility?
by David Leach
1 Pe 5:5 ...Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. (shouldn’t we know what God means by pride and humility?)
Pride - is dependence on and confidence in myself, it always seeks to take the credit
Humility - is dependence on and confidence in God, it only seeks to give God the credit
Matt 16:24 (Jesus) If anyone desires to follow Me, let him deny himself... (humility)
2 Cor 5:15 He (Jesus) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (humility)
Ps 10:4 In his pride the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. NIV
Hab 2:4 Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked; but the righteous (the humble) live by their trust in God. NLT
If we are proud, self dependant not God dependant, what irks us and ruins our growth?
• When we get exhorted by other Christians, meaning we get reminded by someone of a truth from scripture we once knew but are not currently walking in. It doesn’t mean that person is necessarily trying to be our teacher, just exhorting us. Pride still resents it, although its one of God’s key ways to keep us tender and out of sin.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily…lest any of you be hardened (in your heart) through the deceitfulness of sin.
• To have our spiritual feet washed by another Christian. If I walk around barefoot my natural feet will get dirty and need washing. My spirit’s feet are the words I form in my heart and then speak. In order to advance spiritually, Ephesians 6:15 says my feet should have on and be ready to speak God’s words. But they get dirty when I speak words that contradict God’s words and God’s Spirit. Like when I lie, get angry, resentful, worried or speak doubt or false doctrine. If I can’t or won’t wash with God’s word, God may have to use someone else to do it. Pride will detest this.
John 13:14 …You ought to wash one another's feet (and allow others to wash yours).
• Checking to see if we have a beam in our own eye before trying to remove a speck from a brother’s eye. And pride, independence from God, is a huge beam. When someone tries to exhort us or wash our feet with God’s words, we would be wise to ask ourselves if the truth coming to us through this person is from God. Pride however will focus on getting offended over the person assuming we had a need, on how this affects our self-image, and on looking for a speck in that person’s eye.
Matt 7:5 First, cast out the beam from your own eye; and then you shall see clearly to cast out the speck from your brother's eye.
• To ask questions of those who seem to know God better than we do. Real questions, from the heart, that earnestly seek answers about God. Not fake questions to try and trap someone, or to showcase our own knowledge. Natural children ask questions all the time, because they want to learn and aren’t yet dominated by the self image concerns of adult pride. Pride, that won’t admit it doesn’t know something and would sooner pretend that it does and therefore doesn’t learn anything. Or feels that it should already know something and fears looking stupid if it asks a question. All image consciousness is nothing but pride.
Luke 2:46-52 KJV ...They found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
All growth in our relationship with God requires faith. Humility and faith are at root the same. Pride and unbelief are at root the same too. Hence the proud can never grow.
How can a Christian replace prideful independence with humble dependence on God?
Not by any teaching of the Bible to my intellect that relies on my self effort to apply it.
The following are extracts from pages 45-50 of Andrew Murray’s book titled “Humility”.
Murray: “In the Church today humility is still sadly wanting. See how it was absent to begin with in Christ’s first disciples. There was in them a fervent attachment to Jesus. They had forsaken all for Him. But deeper down than all this there was a dark power, of the existence and the hideousness of which they were hardly aware, which had to be slain. Humility is one of the chief and the highest graces; one of the most difficult to obtain; and one that only comes in power, when the fullness of the Spirit makes us partakers of the indwelling Christ (God’s word) and His humble nature lives within us.
How useless is all external teaching and all personal effort to conquer pride or give us a meek and humble heart. For three years the disciples had been in the training school of Jesus. Time after time, He had told them that the chief lesson He wished to teach them was this: “Take my yoke (My Spirit) upon you and learn of Me (partake of Me by My words), for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls”. (Mat. 11:29). Yet it had little impact. At the Last Supper there was still contention among the disciples as to who was the greatest. No outward instruction, not even of Christ Himself; no argument however convincing; no appreciation of the beauty of humility, however deep; no personal resolve or effort, however sincere can cast out the devil of pride. Nothing will work but this, that Christ’s nature in its divine humility be revealed in us to replace our old nature of pride, to become as truly our nature as that ever was”.
Our pride, self sufficiency, came from another so must our humility come from another:
Murray: “It is only by the indwelling of Christ in His divine humility that we become truly humble. We have our pride from another, from Adam; we must have our humility from another too. Pride is ours, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself, our very nature. Humility must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature. As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, self-sufficient, it must be, it will be, to be humble, God sufficient. The promise is, "Where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly." All Christ's teaching of His disciples, and all their vain efforts, were the preparation for His entering into them in divine power, to give and be in them what He had taught them to desire”. Our humility, our sufficiency is from Him alone:
2 Cor 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
How does Christ impart to us His own nature of humility? Take His yoke the Holy Spirit:
To take Christ’s yoke means to voluntarily submit our wills to being joined to God and under His control. Murray: “At Pentecost (when the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit) Jesus took possession of them (giving them the humble nature of His own Spirit). The absence of this grace of humility is the secret cause why the power of God cannot do its mighty work. It is only when we, like Jesus, know and show that we can do nothing of ourselves, that God will do all. It is when the truth of an indwelling Christ takes the place it claims in the experience of believers, that the Church will put on her beautiful garments and humility be seen in her teachers and members as the beauty of holiness”.
After we take Christ’s yoke, the Holy Spirit, how does His humility continue to grow in us?
Do we want to increasingly have a nature that fully trusts God in every area of our lives, to the point of rest? A nature that knows and does God’s will, that walks in love and can pray for and trust God for others too?. How does Christ impart to us more of His humble, God dependent and God trusting, nature? Well, He is the Word of God. So, only as we feed our hearts on God’s word brought to us by God’s Spirit. No word means no growth, without which I will not be able to genuinely trust God for any of His blessings in my life or in the lives of others. God’s word must become to me my daily spiritual bread that I eat:
Jer 15:16 Your words were found, and I did eat them...(I believed them in my heart)
2 Pe 1:4 ...His precious and very great promises (His words) so that through them (by eating them) you may become partakers of the divine nature... ESV
If I eat righteousness I will be delivered of sin – God’s word, Christ in me, is righteousness
If I eat truth I will be delivered of lies - God’s word, Christ in me, is truth
If I eat love I will be delivered of fear - God’s word, Christ in me, is love
If I eat humility I will be delivered of pride - God’s word, Christ in me, is humility
Whatever has held me captive in the past, including the pride of self-dependence, Christ will make me free, if I take the yoke of His Spirit on me and learn and receive of His perfect nature by eating, believing, the words He brings to me. If I can’t yet receive food directly from God, but I’m hungry for more of Him, I should go where others can, by God’s Spirit, feed me His living Word. First at live meetings, then through CD’s of prior meetings. Christ’s nature of humility, of trust in God, will grow in me in proportion as I feed on Him.
John 6:57 ...(Jesus) He who feeds on Me (by eating My words) will live by Me.
James 1:21 …Receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls (save your will from being controlled by your pride).