Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Fruit of the Spirit – Day 11

Humility verses pride

Bible text(s)

6But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

There is a story about the famous boxer, Muhammad Ali, which goes like this: One day, when Ali was in his prime, he was about to take off on an airplane flight when the flight attendant reminded him to fasten his seat belt. He replied brashly, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The attendant retorted, “Superman don’t need no airplane, either.” Ali fastened his belt.

Muhammad Ali is known for many things, humility does not seem to be one of them. However, you may argue, he is one of the best heavyweights the sport has ever seen; surely, he earned himself some pride? Today’s passage from James turns this attitude on its head. He reveals the root of worldliness; it is an issue of pride, while godliness comes through humility.

Thankfully, for us, God gives more grace. Think about that for just a moment. God does not just give us grace – he gives MORE grace. He gives us grace and then he adds more. And once he has added more, he adds some more! How much grace does a man or woman need? Simple – MORE!

By quoting Proverbs 3:34, James shows us how we receive this abundant, on-going grace of God. His grace is for the humble, not the proud. This makes perfect sense because grace is God’s undeserved, unearned favour. Grace finds its motivation and reason in the giver, not the receiver. Only the humble can receive it, because they are not looking to themselves for reasons why they ought to be loved and blessed. Humility means recognising that God owes us nothing and simply asks for favour based on God’s goodness, and that he might be glorified. Pride is the opposite. Pride is thinking that God owes us something. It is seeking favour because we think we deserve it.

CS Lewis called pride a “spiritual cancer” that devours love and contentment. When we focus on God’s amazing grace, there’s no room left for pride.

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