Theme of the Week: Learning Humility
Bible Verse: “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18 CSB
Scripture Reading: Mark 10:46-52
Pride is the great enemy of humility. Bob Thune observes: “The brashest expressions of pride are easy to spot: the athlete who boasts about her talent, the arrogant entrepreneur who flaunts his achievements, or the well-connected neighbor who name-drops in every conversation. Most of us are smart enough to avoid appearing prideful in these obvious ways. But that’s just the problem. We can avoid looking prideful without actually killing our pride.”1
To put pride to death, we must “trace this serpent in all its turnings and windings.”2
That is, we must get a fuller picture of what pride is and how it looks. On the one hand, the Bible tells us that pride often manifests itself as arrogance: the apostle John refers to this as “the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). On the other hand, the Bible affirms that pride can manifest itself as subtle self-centeredness, looking out for your own personal interests (Philippians 2:4).
Either way, the essence of pride is self-concern. It may manifest itself as arrogance and boasting, or as self-protection and fear of people—but it’s pride either way. If we want to cultivate humility, we must put pride to death. How? By looking to Jesus as both our model and our mediator. “Looking to Jesus” is our way of saying – consider who he is and what he has done, let it sink in and stir your affections. But this is not something we can do on our own. We need the Holy Spirit to lift our eyes and make real to us the person and work of Jesus.
So let us look to Jesus with faith, trusting the Spirit’s power to teach and change us. Jesus is our model because though he had every reason to be prideful (he was perfect), he chose instead the path of humility. Scripture commands us to follow his example: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5–7).
One cannot be like Jesus without humility, but if we merely try harder to be like him, we will miss the gospel. The heart of the good news is that we can be more like Jesus only if, and because, we are united with him.
1 Robert H. Thune and Will Walker, The Gospel Centered Community, (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2013).
2 John Owen, Temptation and Sin (Mulberry, IN: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 2001).
Taken from Journey to the Cross: Devotions for Lent, by Will Walker and Kendal Haug, ©2017.
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