Pride vs. humility
HUMILITY…is a hard pill to swallow. You have heard the term ‘humble pie’. I’ve experienced a lot of it over my lifetime. It’s often used in the phrase—‘eat humble pie’. It is a figurative serving of humiliation usually in the form of a forced submission, apology or retraction. I’ve noted that most, if not all, American politicians are not familiar with this. Just saying!
But seriously, pride seems to get in the way of true humility. It is most men’s biggest enemy. And it is so subtle in many ways. Your stature, intelligence, degrees, position in the workplace, beautiful wife and kids, bank account, clothing, golf handicap, club, athletic skill, auto, boat, house—you name it. Are any of these things wrong unto themselves; absolutely not. Then how can something good create pride? Well, it’s how we view them and use them. Most of us measure our value in terms of what we possess, leading us to compare and judge others. Thus suffocating any reasonable level of humility. O, and we can even take pride in our humility.
A Philippians 2 man
I was privileged to introduce a friend, John Roper, at the Dallas Real Estate Ministries’ luncheon last week as he gave a riveting testimony. As I was preparing my thoughts, the Lord seemed to lead me to Philippians 2:5–11. I commented that I believe John to be a Philippians 2 man. What does that model look like? Let’s go there and unpack the qualities. I’ll tell you up front, it doesn’t contain any level of pride.
The verses are written by Paul who, when writing to the Corinthians, said to “imitate him, as he imitates Christ”. (I Cor. 11.1) The Philippians verses are specifically about Jesus, the God/man. He is our perfect model. Roper, and Paul, would quickly tell you; they are less than perfect but they are always in pursuit of this level of character. What are the traits of a Philippians 2 man? Let’s allow the scriptures to show us.
It essentially starts with a ‘state of mind’. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus was the Creator God in human flesh—willfully deciding to lay his all-powerful position aside while here on earth; actually it says, he “emptied himself”. He considered himself of no reputation. Pause—get your mind around that! It goes on. “He took the form of a servant.” Wow! And then he set his mind to do what?…“humble himself”. Which allows him to “become obedient”. Of course, obedient to his Father’s will. And ultimately, what was that? Being led to “the point of death”. And not just any form of death; “even death on a cross”.
Paul exhorts the Philippians and now us. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (vss. 3,4 ESV). By doing so, we are modeling Christlikeness. Being the one who sets his mind to serve, rather than being served. So hard, but so rewarding!
And what did Jesus accomplish by his ‘mindset’? Just the salvation for a lost world, you and me! As we see, Jesus was all about deferred gratification. And so should we be. How did God, the Father, reward him? Simply by “exalting him and bestowing on him the name that is above every name…with every person eventually confessing him as Lord” And for what ultimate purpose did Jesus really set his mind to do all this emptying, humbling and suffering for us? “To the glory of the Father”.
Men, dads, do you want to lead a deeply fulfilling life? And impact several generations after you; then “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”. I see this in the Apostle Paul, and I have witnessed it in John Roper.
All to the glory of God! That’s what a Philippians 2 man resembles. May we all set our minds on this manner of living. It’ll change your world, and the world around you. Because it is simply done out of love—for the Father, our families and our circle of influence. And you’ll have to eat a lot less of that ‘humble pie’.