People who achieve an extraordinary level of fame or reputation while they are still alive are often called “a legend in their own time.” A friend who played professional baseball says he met many people in the world of sports who were only “a legend in their own mind.” Pride has a way of distorting how we see ourselves while humility offers a realistic perspective.
The writer of Proverbs said, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18). Viewing ourselves in the mirror of self-importance reflects a distorted image. Self-elevation positions us for a fall.
The antidote to the poison of arrogance is true humility that comes from God. “Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud” (v. 19).
Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28).
There is nothing wrong with receiving accolades for achievement and success. The challenge is to stay focused on the One who calls us to follow Him saying, “for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (11:29).
Lord Jesus, give us Your humility as we interact with others today. May we honor You in all we do and say.
True humility comes from God.
The account of King Nebuchadnezzar is an example of how pride can lead to a fall. The prophet Daniel reminded him that God had given him “dominion and power and might and glory” (Daniel 2:37). Nebuchadnezzar initially acknowledged Yahweh was “the God of gods and Lord of kings” (v. 47), but pride got the better of him when he ordered everyone to worship a ninety-foot-tall gold statue of himself (3:1–6). Ignoring God’s warning, he persisted in his pride and said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built . . . by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (4:30). Just as he was boasting about this, he was suddenly struck down by an illness, believed to be boanthropy, a rare mental disorder where a person believes he is a cow or ox (vv. 31–33). After seven years, God restored Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity. Then he humbly confessed, “Now I . . . praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven. . . . Those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (v. 37). The arrogant king learned that “when pride comes, then comes disgrace” (Proverbs 11:2) and “pride brings a person low” (29:23).
When have you seen pride lead to disgrace?