A wise man once said that, "To know a man, observe how he wins his object, rather than how he loses it; for when we fail our pride supports us; when we succeed, it betrays us." How many in here tonight have ever been betrayed by pride? My guess is every man in here. Pride is not some horrible thing. It's an human emotion. A God-created emotion. How many father's are in here? Aren't you proud to be a father? When your child does something absolutely amazing don't you take pride in raising such an amazing young man or young woman? How many veterans are in here tonight? Aren't you proud to have served your country? Pride is not an all together bad thing. But pride is kind of like the stereo type of the pit bull. If it's rubbed the wrong way there's always that chance that it can turn on you. In fact, the Bible says in... Pro 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. So pride often comes before a fall. Amen? Why? When misplaced pride draws the attention away from God, And gives us a false sense of security in ourselves. The type of pride that goes before destruction is the "pride of life" mentioned in 1John 2:16. That scripture warns us not to love the world... 1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. The greek for this type of pride, the pride of life, is al-ad-zon-i'-a bee'-os, (alazoneia bios) Which means to have self-confidence in our present state of existence. This kind of pride makes the top of God's hate list in Proverbs 6:16. And this type of pride is a plan killer.
b) Pride is a Plan-Killer... How many in here tonight know that God has a plan for your life? Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. But pride kills our ability to follow God’s plan. 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 warn us that God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. From Genesis to Revelation we are warned about pride. You say well brother JB, if pride is not all together bad then why does God seem to hate pride? It's not necessarily pride that God hates. He hates the way we play on that emotion. See, God created us for purpose. Every feeling, every desire, everything about us was intended to serve a purpose. Not our own, but His purpose. And after the fall, Even during the events that caused the fall, the devil has played our emotions against us. We should look around us and as we see all the wonderful things in the world we should take pride in God for all that He has done. But instead, with our distorted view point, we choose to take pride in what we have accomplished. Not really seeing the big picture. Simply put...We take pride in the creation rather than the creator. It's not without first humbling ourselves to God that we can see things from a true perspective. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “Humility is a virtue so difficult to grasp that if I should ever attain to it, I would be proud of myself.”
c) Humility is Essential to the Plan... I said earlier that Proverbs 16:18 said that pride comes before a fall. Well, the next verse, verse 19, says that it is better to be humble and poor, than rich and proud. I believe that humility is directly affected by the size of our God. If we think little of God or don’t believe God can direct our lives, we will think that we are able to do a better job than He can. But in all actuality, we don't possess the ability to direct our own lives. Alot of us haven't even come to that realization yet. And that's why we experience one failure after another. But Jeremiah knew that we weren't capable of directing our own lives. Listen to what he says in... Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. See, when we serve a small god we feel we have to do it all ourselves. And when we succeed we take pride in our selves, Which then sets us up for the fall. But when we put God in proper perspective, then and only then, will our self-image fall into the right perspective. The only way to do that is to humble yourself before God. (Kneeology not Theology) Humility is not hanging your head low and belittling yourself. Humility is depending on the sovereignty of God, understanding that His ways are right, And choosing to align ourselves with the will of God and trusting His ability to lead and direct us. It is a never-ending growing process. That is why Jesus made the statement, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23. d) Humility Requires Self Denial... Denying our own ways is an essential part of following Christ. Self-denial is the first step in following God’s will. Self-denial is not the same as depriving yourself, it is depending on God to supply our desires and needs. Self denial is a "Let go and let God" kind of attitude. We have to deny self-gratification, self-sustainment, and self-righteousness. You literally have to look at your desires and God’s desire for you and choose. You Have to deny worldly pleasures, And trust that God's plan will bring you pleasure. And I'll tell you from my own experience that there's far more pleasure in serving the Lord. God does not honor our self-made righteousness. God doesn’t honor our self-made name in any area of our lives. God measures success based on our obedience. God clearly tells us that when we humble ourselves, He will lift us up. When we do it ourselves, it just doesn’t work. Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. God desires to bless us when we humble ourselves and obey, but will bring low those who lift themselves up. e) A Tale of Two Cities... There are two illustrations in Genesis that clearly drive this point home. I call this the tale of two cities. The first city being Babel and the second city is Ur. Gen 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. Gen 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. Gen 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. Gen 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Next look at Genesis 12:1-2: Gen 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Genesis 11 is the story of the Tower of Babel. Their sin was not that they desired to make an architectural marvel. Their sin is found at the end of verse 4, They said “let us make a name for ourselves”. Compare this to Genesis 12. Then end of verse 2 says, “I will bless you and make your name great”. The point the scriptures makes is that we don’t have the right to make our name great, but when we humble ourselves and follow God, He delights in making our name great. The glory of that great name belongs to God. It is important for us to learn this point. Jesus led by example. f) Jesus: The Name Above All Names... The bible tells us that Jesus humbled himself as an example to us. Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Jesus was God and had the right to claim His divinity here on earth. But that was not His mission. His mission was to be an example and humble Himself to die for us. Why then do we think we have a right to exalt ourselves when Jesus humbled Himself. Mat 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. Jesus plainly states that a disciple is not above his teacher. In verse 25 Jesus says that we are to imitate Him. If He humbled Himself, we should understand that we are to follow His lead. g) Conclusion... The message I believe God is conveying to us is that we are to only be concerned with humbly following Christ and let God worry about reputations and good names. Jesus did not make a name for Himself. He humbled Himself and God made Him a name above all names. The men of Babel built a tower to make themselves a great name and God troubled their cause. Then one chapter later, God tells Abraham that if he forsakes his name and follows God, then God will give Abraham the very thing the men of Babel were denied. And God kept His Promise. Amen? God has a plan for each person’s life. The only way you will find the greatness of God is to forsake all and follow God. That requires trust and humility. Abraham already had a name. It was Abram, Which meant high father, And he didn't even have any children. He had a name that he could never live up to because his wife was barren. But God gave him a great name. He changed his name to Abraham, Which means the father of multitudes. And that's what he became. Amen? When he left Ur, his family wanted to follow. But God required him to leave his self-made reputation and provisions and in return God promised that He would make him a great name, That He would make him a great nation, and great blessings that would flow out to all the families of the earth. Abraham trusted God and cast off his reputation and let God build it for him. That is humility. Take a moment and think about the size of your God. Have you boxed Him into an idea that is below your own abilities? God wants to bless you greatly. Your relationship with God will flow throughout your family and into those in your circle of influence and beyond. God wants to make you a blessing to those in need. You will not know until you get to heaven all the lives you have touched. Your calling is to grow in Christ. Let Him fill your cup to overflowing that it might flow into the lives of those you come into contact with. Abraham’s obedience is still reaping the harvest thousands of years later. God doesn't use great people to use their greatness. God uses humble people and makes them great by His power so others will see and know the Lord is God. Humility toward God is more usable than great talent. Let God take your life and use it for His glory. Amen.