Before a downfall, the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. – Proverbs 18:12
Most of us are familiar with the biblical proverb that warns, “pride goeth before destruction (KJV).” Here we see the “flip side” of that truth stated as, “humility comes before honor.” Both remind me of the old Mac Davis’ hit, “O Lord, it’s hard to be humble.”
Isn’t it, though?
How often do we think more of ourselves than we ought? Not just in achievement, but in comparison to others? How often have we thought, “Well, I might sin from time to time, but never like that!” Perhaps, we might be a little more forgiving if we truly understood our own “humble estate” apart from God’s grace. For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect glory.
Yet, there is another thought to consider here. How often do we think less of ourselves than we should? True humility also embraces one’s worth in the eyes of our Creator. True humility surely recognizes the need for grace, but it also acknowledges the power of that grace to make us all God desires us to be for His purposes. God-granted humility allows us to say, as the Apostle Paul did, that the Lord’s strength is perfected in our weakness.
God will always do His part to remind us of our weakened nature. If we will accept His rebuke, gentle or not, the greatest truth we may learn is who deserves the greatest honor through our service.
The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself or less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. – Tim Keller