What Would Jesus Undo? Pride.
Years ago, a movement to challenge the thinking and actions of the world started with a single question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Over the years there have been numerous modifications to this question. As we follow in His footsteps again today asking another question, “What would Jesus undo?” In this series, we go beyond the simple slogans of what it means to follow Christ and open yourself up to discover what Jesus wants to undo so that we can live a life of authentic faith. This week we look at the subject of pride.
Something To Talk About:
Pride is the sin that deceives us. It’s effects are found everywhere. It is the chief cause of human strife and tragedy. Pride is the original sin, committed by Satan resulting in his fall from heaven, and by Adam and Eve when they were sent from the Garden. All other evil can be traced back to pride. We don’t have to consciously try to be prideful, it just naturally occurs. The true test is overcoming this sin. The solution to pride is humility.
- How does pride manifest/masquerade itself in your life? One of the hardest things to recognize and confront in ourselves as Christians is our pride. For some of us, it has become a major part of our lives, sometimes without our even knowing. The Bible warns time and time again against pride creeping into our lives. Perhaps the most well-known warning is in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Pride can be difficult to deal with because we don’t feel that anything is wrong with us. When overwhelmed with other emotions, we know for sure that something is wrong and we need to change. When overwhelmed with pride, we usually think that we are just fine, but it’s just that everyone else has to change. Ultimately, pride causes us to elevate ourselves to the place of God. We determine what is best for our lives. We control our desires and decisions. We direct the course of our life. This is the thinking pride creates. “The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.” (Psalm 10:4) In our hearts we say as Pharaoh did, “…And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him …” (Exodus 5:2)
- What is the solution? The only way to get the better of pride is to practice radical humility. It may sound like a contradiction, but the humble man realizes that he is proud, and earnestly strives to overcome the manifestations of pride in his life. In striving for humility, we must always have before our eyes the example of Jesus Christ. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Humility is when you consider other people’s interests before your own, thinking what is best for the other person and acting on that. And learn to forgive. Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done to us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.
- What are some ways pride shows up in your life? When it comes to pride, how much is too much?
- If I have “the gift of gab,” how much of my gabbing is all about me? Am I keeping others from talking simply because I am filling up the conversation?
- Do I have a sensible assessment of who I am in Christ? What are my gifts, skills, abilities and contributions to the body of Christ? How can I re-think and transform my language to be less about me and more about Him and others?
- There is a difference between confidence and pride. Under what circumstances do you tend toward pride? Have there been times where you have experienced humble confidence?
- What is true humility? What is false humility?
- In what area are you most likely to struggle with humility? Where do you tend to judge other people the most? In what ways are you overly self-focused, either with anxiety, pride, insecurity, self-promotion, or worry?
- Philippians 2:3 encourages, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves.” Is there someone in your life you need to actively consider more important than yourself? How can you seek to humbly show preference to that person over your own desires or wants?
- There is a difference between God humbling you and you humbling yourself. When you place yourself in a humble position and lean on God, He has reason to lift you up (1Peter 5:6 and James 4:10). What are some ways you can place yourself in a humble position with God, at home, at work, or with friends?
- How could we train, or become better at humility this week?
Take one thing home with you:
One of the most amazing passages in the Bible is Philippians 2:6-8, in which Paul demonstrates the humility of Christ. The apostle Paul described it this way: “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
These are probably the strongest verses about humility in the New Testament, and they demonstrate that Jesus’ behavior has always been marked by humility.
When Paul wrote that Jesus existed in the “form” of God, he meant that Jesus wasn’t just a component of God, nor was He a symbol of God. In reality, He was God. As the eternal God Himself, Jesus possessed the splendor, glory, and power of God.
Jesus practiced mind-blowing, unfathomable humility. Think about it for a second. God becomes a man. He goes from heaven to earth. He goes from a throne to a manger. He goes from riches to poverty. He goes from hearing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” to “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him.”