Three different times in Proverbs 26, Solomon speaks of the foolishness and folly of pride and of one who thinks he is right in his own eyes:
Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
We must understand that pride and being wise in one’s own eyes are enemies of God.
This is because pride and self-wisdom cause man to believe he is most important or most central.
Pride is demonic: It is the essence of the fallen angel, who in his pride became a demon.
Pride was the chosen weapon of Satan in mankind’s demise from day one. It is the core of our folly! It is pride that caused Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in their desire to be like God.
Ever since Eden, pride has been a central demise of mankind.
We live in a demonically-inspired culture that wants to make you and me the center of the universe, wants to make your glory the ultimate goal of your existence, and wants you to think that everyone should bow down and realize how amazing you are.
We have already read:
In Proverbs 6:16-17 that "a proud look is an abomination to the LORD."
In Proverbs 15:25 that God promises to "destroy the house of the proud."
In Proverbs 21:4, "A haughty look, a proud heart … are sin. "
James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud.” Think about that!
To be proud and wise in your own eyes is to fight God.
The Bible also says that God gives grace to the humble. We don't need pride; we need grace!
Paul has a strong warning for us in Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”
“Do nothing” are strong words!
Selfish Ambition- The pursuit of activity of achieving something for oneself.
These are the things we do, dream about, and long for that all ends up rewarding ourselves.
This is an endless maze that deteriorates at life. Why?
When selfish ambition rules our lives, the goal of filling our own cup never ends, because there is always something better out there or something to improve or have more of.
Vain Conceit or, more specifically, empty glory!
Empty glory is the need to be honored, the need to be lifted up, and/or the need to be right.
It is a form of secular self-esteem: This is a frame of mind that causes us to think we are always right, and no one else gets us or understands. Solomon calls this foolish because it is a false reality. It is also highly problematic because we are all too quick to avoid or ignore good, godly counsel.
Instead, we need to be humble and consider others more important than ourselves.
Paul continues in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
We need to be settled in who we are in Christ and not constantly trying to get on top; rather, we need to be willing to listen to others and not always declare we are right.
What is humility? John Calvin wrote, “It is evident that one never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.”
A biblical worldview of humility is honestly assessing ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.
Another definition: Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
So, how do we move from being me-centered to other-centered?
How do we move from vain, selfish, and prideful to serving, loving, and humble?
Paul shows us this in Philippians 2:5-8: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
To kill the poison of pride and self-rightness we have to embrace a life in humility. This is only attainable if we are healed and redefined by JESUS!
We talked earlier about the popular secular self-esteem that we run after in sin.
There is a gospel self-esteem: We only have this esteem in Christ!
The only way to look away from self so that you can truly look towards others is to first look to JESUS!
The good news is Jesus humbled Himself to put on flesh and walk among us, to be ridiculed by us, and to be picked on. Because of His humility He didn’t stand up and level the mockers with His power. His mission was to free many captives from sin and set them free.
<>He did this for the humiliated, the beat down, the poor, and the forgotten.
<>Jesus humbled Himself for the corporate executives, for the glamour queens.
<>For the arrogant husbands and the vain wife.
<>For the always-judging female back-talkers and the stubborn-in-their-ways male dominators.
<>For those who use their bodies to be noticed and those who use their minds to make others feel dumb.
<>For those who use money to buy power and those who use their skills to remind others they fall short.
Jesus humbled Himself to death so we could finally be humbled in the gift of life!
How can you and I be liberated from the dominating power of the world’s empty definitions of greatness? JESUS!
How can you and I experience the lasting joy of being fully known and still fully loved? JESUS!
How can you and I experience the satisfaction of Christ’s definition of who we are and no longer run after the world’s definitions that never leave us satisfied? JESUS!
Everything that you and I stand to gain is because of what Jesus gave up. Praise God.
May we cling to Jesus and abide in Him daily so He will change what is arrogant, prideful, and self-defined into something humble, patient, and defined in Christ.