Lessons in Discipleship (19) دروس في التلمذة

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LID#19 – Humility: The Opposite of Pride

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  Today’s session is Lesson 19 – Humility: The Opposite of Pride.  First, let me tell you a little about myself.  I am a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my faith by the Navigators, a non-denominational international Christian organization whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned from the Bible and under the guidance of the Navigators during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is Humility: The Opposite of Pride.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘humility’ means the state of being humble.  Both ‘humility’ and ‘humble’ have their origin in the Latin word ‘humilis’, meaning ‘low’.  The word is related to ‘humus’ or earth/dirt.  According to the Oxford dictionary, the opposite or antonym of ‘humility’ is ‘pride.’  We see this same contrast of ‘humility’ and ‘pride’ in the two primary adversaries of the universe, God (in Christ) and Satan.  We see ‘humility’ being possibly the most significant characteristic of Jesus in Matthew 11.  Jesus said, “I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matt. 11:29)  The apostle Paul wrote about Jesus, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

From an opposing view, we look at pride and its characterization as satanic.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning-star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations.  You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.  But you were brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.’” (Isaiah 14:12-15)

Here is the kind of person God looks at, the person of true importance: “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)

In the prophet Micah we read, “He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)  In this passage God gives his unqualified support for humility.

The apostle Peter writes, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (I Peter 5:5)  James gives a similar passage, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)  Incidentally, both Peter and James were quoting directly from the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament of the Bible, which was itself translated from Hebrew. “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34).

Humility is further praised in Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33)  And also, “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

Humility was also praised in Moses: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3)

Let’s summarize what we have learned from this brief presentation.  Humility is contrasted with pride, and they are both revealed in their origins.  Humility is associated closely with Jesus and his character.  Pride has its origin and embodiment with Satan.  Second, humility is praised and given great approval by God.  In contrast, pride is actively opposed by God.  Third, humility is truly Christ-like, and one of the character traits most valued by God.  Fourth, pride is one of the most deceitful and dangerous character traits.  It is so easy for it to creep into our lives.  Finally, real humility is seen in the light of God and in his perspective.  In fact, true humility is not really seeing ourselves at all.

We will see you next time when we cover Lesson 20 of Lessons in Discipleship when our topic will be Honesty: The Opposite of Lying and Deceit.  Well, that wraps up today’s presentation.  Thanks for being a part.  Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He’s worth it!

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