There are many ways God grows humility in us. Sometimes the humbling comes like a flood of water, drowning the proud heart. Other times it comes like a gentle rain, exposing the façade of a self-centered life. However, whenever and however it comes it’s never pleasant, as Hebrews says “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Today I have come face to face (as a flood) with my sinful arrogant heart. It’s not pretty, and in some ways it surprises me (is that really me?). CJ Mahaney makes this great point in his book humility, “The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life.” CJ then quotes John Stott, “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.”
One of the greatest ways I see pride in my life is the lack of self-control over my speech and my joking. Pride says, “I can say whatever I want to say;” “Come on, I’m only joking;” “If that’s how you took it, it’s your business;” “I’m just being honest;” “I’ve done nothing wrong.” However, the book of Ephesians has a ton to say about how we speak. “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”(Eph. 5:4). “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”(Eph. 4:29). God’s very words are powerful and profitable to convict me of my sin and train me in righteousness.
It’s also in the midst of God’s words that we see our great Savior who came and died for sins! Christ became sin for me (and you) and poured out his blood for the forgiveness of my sins. When I see and acknowledge the darkness of my sins it makes the gospel of Christ Jesus shine as bright as a million suns. God has not dealt with me as my sins deserve. I am a great sinner, but I have an even greater Savior!
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10)