Christian Life


“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

Pride is a pre-occupation with oneself. It is evident in both the arrogant and the self-pitying. Its only cure is a replacement of the object of one’s attention. This is both simple and difficult. “What can be more important than me?” the proud person asks. To this, there is only one answer that is certain to convince the puffed up – God.

Humility–the opposite of pride–is a preoccupation with God and with other people. It is cultivated by a proper perspective of oneself. But a proper perspective of one thing requires that it be seen in comparison with another thing. In this case, the only way to see oneself correctly is when one sees oneself in comparison with God. Since God is perfect, one cannot come away with any impression of oneself that is lofty.

If one’s thoughts rise to God only momentarily, the right perspective of oneself will only be momentary. In order to maintain one’s preoccupation on God, one must love God for it is impossible for enemies to gaze at one another for very long. Instead, the enmity between a prideful human being and its maker must be removed. This is the essence of the gospel. God provides for the removal of the hostility between God and his human creature by providing a his Son upon whom his wrath, rightly aimed at us sinners, may be diverted. Such love has he for us that he laid down his only Son that we might be God’s worshipers (God-occupied people) and not his enemies. Such love also causes us to love him, to delight in the knowledge of him, and to worship him. Worship of God, then, is the cure for worship of self.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.