There is a story told of two ducks and a frog who played together and were close friends. As the cold of winter drew near, the ducks realized they would soon have to leave. Not wanting to leave their friend behind, the three decided the ducks would put a stick in each of their bills and the frog would hang onto the stick with his mouth while they flew him to a warmer pond. And so they began their journey. As they were flying along with the frog clinching the stick in his mouth, a farmer looked up and said, “What a great idea! I wonder who thought of that!” Hearing this, the frog opened his mouth and said, “I did…!”
Pride can be a dangerous thing. In fact, Proverbs 16:18 teaches that pride comes before the fall. Throughout Scripture, we are taught to follow Jesus Christ’s example of humility. What does humility look like? In the book of Luke, scripture teaches that humility can be summarized in five statements.
1. Humility is trusting in God’s righteousness (Luke 18:9-10)
Notice that Jesus will speak this parable to those who trust in themselves. We will see that the humble man in this parable is the one who trusted in the righteousness of God, not of himself. Our righteousness is ultimately dependent upon God, not on a checklist of good deeds. While good works are important and required, they do not earn our righteousness. Rather, they are a proper response to God.
2. Humility is minding your own business (Luke 18:11)
Notice the Pharisee stood and told God how great he was in comparison to everyone else. We are not called to compare ourselves to others, only to Christ. Christians need to learn to mind their business and focus on their spiritual life before focusing on someone else’s.
3. Humility is pursuing Good Works Quietly (Luke 18:12)
Christians who are humble do not boast in their own good works to gain the praise of others. Rather, they do good works quietly so that God might take notice.
4. Humility is realizing your need for mercy (Luke 18:13)
The difference between the tax collector and the Pharisee was in how they viewed themselves. The Pharisee saw no need for mercy while the tax collector understood his sins and where he stood with God.
5. Humility is allowing God to exalt you (Luke 18:14)
Christians need to allow God to praise them and exalt them in his timing, not theirs.
Humility allows God to shine as we step out of the spotlight so that he can step into it. If we want to avoid the mistake of pride, we will find it helpful to understand what humility is and pursue its actions.
Ask God to search your heart today and do away with all pride so that he might be glorified.