Humility and Pride
Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 11:1-10.
The world in which we live is saying to us, “Walk tall. Take pride in yourself.
Be proud of your ethnicity or sexuality. Be proud of your
accomplishments.” How then does this ride with the biblical emphasis on
humility? The Son of God comes in humility, to serve, not to be served. He gives
his life a ransom for many. He rides into Jerusalem to claim his royal status,
but not in the fullness of pride, pomp, and prestige that ruling elites usually claim
for themselves. An early Christian poem, quoted by Paul, described him as one
who, in humility, emptied himself of all that sort of thing.
Humility for Jesus did not mean giving in to others. He knew his calling and he
resolutely stuck to it in spite of temptations to deviate from it. His humility was
anything but weak and powerless. His humility was not something to be aimed
at for itself; it was a by-product of his devotion to the Father; and so the humility
that we are called to is not a goal to be aimed at, but rather something that follows
on from truly loving God with all our being. When the centre of our lives shifts
from self to God, we lose self-centred pride and arrogance. Sometimes, however,
we have to remind ourselves of this by deliberately taking the humble path.
The world is right; we are not called to become snivelling weaklings, despising
ourselves or living in continual self-abasement. We are God’s beloved creatures,
not meant, out of self-centred pride, to usurp God’s central position in life.