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Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries

 

Christian Attitude: Pride vs. Humility by Garrett Edwards

Readings: Is. 6:1-5; Philippians 2:5-11  audio (6MB)

I want the idea for today to be more than simply humility being good and pride being bad. I want to take us farther than that, to take us deeper to the very core of the issue with pride.

And to do that, I wanna talk about God, can we do that, just talk about Him?

The reason I want to make it that simple is because I think pride blocks our view of a God who is actively involved in this world and blocks our relationship with that God.

I read this book a while ago with a quote by Jonathan Edwards who says this,

‘People are starving for the grandeur of God and the vast majority don’t know it.’ He goes on, ‘Those who do say, ‘O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh faints for thee as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.’

 

As you no doubt have noticed, we’ve been trying hard to reveal the grandeur of God during this service. Whether it was in the songs we sang, in the clips, or in something that was said. We really want to provide the space for that to happen here today. As I hope will happen every Sunday at church.That would be great wouldn’t it?

Now you might be wondering by now, Garrett, this is kind of interesting, (at least I hope you are) but what does ‘The Grandeur of God’ and starving for it, have to do with Pride and Humility?

Well this is what it has to do with: Pride and Humility

One of the most proud and exciting times for me was at the confirmation a few weeks ago, when one by one the confirmees from youth group got up and gave their testimonies. Each of them except Sarah (and I’ve had words to her, don’t worry), said that a talk I gave at SUTS was a key aspect in challenging them to get confirmed.

It was incredible, it was emotional, it was encouraging and it was a really good feeling. And these were some of the thoughts that I had:

"Wow, I’m doing a great job. I’m actually good at this. I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, that’s terrific. Thanks for acknowledging me guys!"

And you know what those thoughts and feelings took the place of? They took the place of me seeing God’s work in them, and praising him properly for it.

I wonder what you take pride in? Even those who are mega godly and righteous, and I mean that in the most sincere way. What do you take pride in?

Because this is my challenge, and this is where I failed. That the pride we take in the things that we do, must be pride in God and his grandeur, his power to change lives and his majesty.

Not in ourselves! It must be pride in what he does, possibly through us, but never the less, pride in him, not ourselves.

Do you see the difference?

We need to move to an attitude where the pride that we take in the things that we do is pride in God, not in ourselves.

Why? Why is this necessary? What’s so bad about thinking I’m doing a good job? What’s so bad about thinking your great? Or finding pride in knowing how much you’re appreciated?

What’s so bad about taking pride in the fact that you’re being a great servant of God in this church?Or having pride in taking your business to a new level.
Or pride in the fact that you are simply good people, or proud of the fact that your not proud?

This is the problem with taking the pride for ourselves. It blocks our view of a God who is actively involved in this world through you, and blocks our relationship with that God.

A song that David wrote in Psalms goes like this,

‘O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.’

Did you know that the Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart? He was a man after God’s own heart. I think it was because he saw the situation as it was, he saw God, high and lifted up above all things and in light of that, he says, ‘My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you.’

Do we feel this way about God in the slightest? Do we see God, high and lifted up over all things? And feel the urge to praise him for it?

David goes on, ‘I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.’

Do we know God so well that we can’t help but to hunger and thirst for him, to long for him? Because as I told the youth a couple of weeks ago, this is the only kind of relationship with God that is worth striving for!

And to have this kind of relationship we need to know two things:

The first thing we need to know is that this kind of relationship with God’s not only possible, but he has this same longing for us. We need to know him for who he is! It is possible to know him as closely as we know the person next to us. His Holy Spirit is living within us right now, the same Spirit that led Jesus and enabled him to do those wondrous things, the same Spirit that enabled creation to happen with all its mysteries, is living inside us!

Yet so many of us doubt that we can know him as well as we can know our closest companion?

And the second thing we need to know is that it takes a lot of humility to have this kind of relationship. It takes a lot of humility to choose to give over the pride we take in the things we do to God working through us.

Again we need to know God for who he is, the great, awesome and holy God full of glory that we see in chapter 4 of Revelation:

And in front of the throne there is something like a see of glass, like crystal. Around the throne and on each side of the throne are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face
And the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes, all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty who was, and is and is to come!

How incredible is this vision of God!

‘Most do not discern that they are made to thrill at the panorama of God’s power and glory. They seek to fill the void in other ways. And even of those who go to church, how many of them can say when they leave, “I have looked upon Him in the sanctuary, beholding his power and glory!”

That was a quote by John Piper a pastor and author.We are made to thrill at the glory of God. If I told you that that was your only purpose in life, how would you feel? Bored? Indifferent? Offended by the arrogance of God, that he would make us for that single purpose? That his ultimate goal is to glorify himself.

Because one day we will be crying out day and night without ceasing, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty!’ Boring, a waste of eternity? What do you think? Is God the one who’s arrogant, or are you?

And that brings us back to the second thing; we need to be humble. Why is humility good? Because it’s the proper attitude to have towards such a great and awesome God.

At youth group we’ve been studying the book, ‘The Pursuit of God’ and a major part of our ability to pursue God is to realize what the right relationship to him is. That, in the face of the all powerful God we follow, the only attitude to have is complete humility.

Tozer says in this book, ‘Let no one imagine they will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell out to God.’ Humility is not a humiliation, it’s what it means to be human in its truest from!

Why is humility good, because it enables us to see God without our own selves blocking the vision. And an even more amazing thing is this, that God showed the ultimate humility.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Max Lucado puts this story something like this. The King of Heaven, obedient to no one, in need of nothing and holding unlimited power and authority came down from his throne, taking the crown from his head. The royal robes that trailed behind him through the halls of heaven were released, and he humiliated himself by becoming a slave - obedient and reliant.

If this truth does not humble us, if we can’t realize how remarkable it was for the king of the universe to come to earth as a human and die on a cross. If this doesn’t humble us and shake us to the core, then pride is an issue for us!

How dare we take this sacrifice as the expected and appropriate thing for God to do! How dare we take it as nothing more than his duty! How dare we not be willing to humble ourselves after our King has done so!

Who do we think we are! Each of us is guilty of taking this for granted! We take it for granted when we come to church not wanting to acknowledge and experience God. We do it when we read scripture and don’t consciously try to hear God in it, ignoring it.

We do it when we put ourselves above others and in our hearts think we are better than others. We do it when we look at our achievements, whatever they may be and think of ourselves of more worth than we ought!

We do it when we hear our own name in testimonies louder than the name of God!

Jesus, in this Philippians passage, shows us greatness isn’t something to hold on to, it isn’t something we should aim for. Our achievements aren’t the be all and end all. Greatness is only worthwhile when we give it to God, where it belongs, cos its only with him that it can stick.For anyone else it’s only temporary.

No, our own greatness and solid reputation shouldn’t be our aim. Our aim should be to thrill at the grandeur of God, to hunger and thirst after him, to long for him. Our aim should be to find pride in God as he works through us. And he will work through us!

I said at the beginning that I wanted to talk about God today, because He’s an awesome and grand God. And we are a treasure to him. Jesus died for us, in that fact alone we can find significance and only in that fact! Jesus died for us.

As I said earlier he longs for us the way we should long for him! But we also need to acknowledge something. We are his creation, we are far below him.
Paul in Romans says, we are free from sin, but we are now slaves to righteousness.

We don’t like that do we? It’s our human instinct to long for absolute freedom, to desire independence from everything and to be the greatest. We find it hard to humble ourselves, even to a God so great as ours, who has done so much for us.

But we are his slaves, and we are created to thrill at his grandeur and to long for him, to thirst and hunger for him! And to do that we need a humility like Christ’s.

Can we humble ourselves, can we sacrifice our pride on a cross and become truly his? Bending our knees and bowing our heads so he can be seen high and lifted far above us?

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted and train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried, “For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Almighty.”

Pride blocks our view of a God who is actively involved in this world and blocks our relationship with that God. I’m not simply wanting to challenge us to be humble. I’m saying the if we knew who God for who he truly is we would be humbled. And that humility would bring us into a longing, hungering and thirsty relationship with God!

Have you ever longed for God, the way he longs for you? It requires you to see God for who he is and the humility to bow our stiff necks.

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