Practical Humility

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

(John 13:12–17, ESV)

Pride is an insidious thing, and it is easy to recognize in others while being blind to it in ourselves. A proud Christian leader is an exceptionally ugly thing.

The former slave-trader John Newton recognized that pride can even be manifest in holy things. He wrote with scathing accuracy what could have been written for the keyboard crusaders of our day:

I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility that they are willing in words to debase the creature, and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.

John Newton

Fighting pride is something all of us will need to do until the day we are made new. We might have correct doctrine and yet, be filled with such pride that we denigrate the God we wish to please. May the Scriptures that we prize have a deep impact upon our speech, our attitudes, and our lives so that whatever we do would bring glory to God.

One thought on “Practical Humility

  1. Pingback: Practical Humility (weekend repost) | Always Reforming

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