Jesus’ Beatitudes & the Virtue of Humility

 

Of all the virtues Christ commended in the Beatitudes, it is significant that the first is humility, being ‘poor in spirit’ (Matthew 5:3). The virtue of humility (the blessed gift of self-forgetfulness) underlies all the others:

  • You cannot mourn (5:4) without appreciating how insufficient you are to handle life in your own strength. That is humility.
  • You cannot be meek (5:5) unless you have needed gentleness yourself. Knowing that need is humility.
  • You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness (5:6) if you proudly think of yourself as already righteous. Longing to fill that spiritual appetite demands humility. Remember Jesus’ parable when the humbled tax collector prayed, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ He went away justified, unlike a proud Pharisee who boasted of his righteousness (Luke 18:13).
  • You cannot be merciful (Matt. 5:7) without recognizing your own need for mercy. Jesus said that it’s the person who is forgiven much that loves much (Luke 7:47). To confess your sin and ask God and others for forgiveness takes humility.
  • You cannot be pure in heart (Matt. 5:8) if your heart is filled with pride. God promises to exalt the humble not the proud (James 4:10).
  • You cannot be a peacemaker (Matt. 5:9) if you believe that you are always right. To admit your own fallibility takes humility. Peace results when both warring parties move toward one other.
  • Finally, identifying with Christ no matter the reaction of others (5:10-12) demands a certain death to yourself and a renunciation of your own rights. Standing firm under mistreatment demands Christlike humility.

Cultivating a Healthy Marriage – Clothed with Humility

During your early years of marriage, you will discover that developing a good marriage is a lot like cultivating a garden (recall Tim Keller’s talk on “Cultivating a Healthy Marriage”). A garden takes a lot of work and it costs more than you figured, it is messier than you anticipated, and it requires greater determination than you expected to reap the rewards (adapted from a quote from Chuck Swindle). It is so important during these days to establish good habits and patterns of relating to one another.
This is why Colossians 3:12-17 teaches you to go daily to the wardrobe of the Spirit and ask Him to empower you to do that which is humanly impossible: To truly, fervently and faithfully love each other from the heart. Apart from the Spirit, most couples are prone to use one another to meet their own needs rather than focusing on meeting the needs of their spouse.
Verse 12 says: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” This verse uses a clothing metaphor to describe the Christ-like life.
To put on Christ is to clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and love. These virtues are good moral habits that take time to develop. We don’t naturally become this type of person. It takes intentionality and work. These virtues also have a corresponding vice that can undo everything you hold dear about your relationship. For this reason, I focus first on the one vice that causes more divorces than anything else: Pride.
The first virtue to which I want to draw your attention is HUMILITY. Humility is God’s blessed gift of self-forgetfulness. It is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. This Spirit-empowered virtue will arrest the biggest problem in all of our marriages – our own selfishness. At every stage in your life going forward, humility will be your greatest friend, and pride, the corresponding vice, will be your greatest enemy.
Proud people are insecure people who find fault easily and are quick to criticize. Much of your strife and discord in marriage will be the result of unchecked pride in your hearts. Proverbs 13:10 teaches us: “By pride comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who seek counsel.” The challenge in dealing with pride is this: You can see pride easily in another person’s life and miss it entirely in your own.
Pride destroys your ability to truly love one another. C.S. Lewis calls pride “spiritual cancer.” One of the best short chapters to read on pride and humility is from Lewis’ book entitled Mere Christianity. The chapter is called “The Great Sin.”
Lewis writes:
“Pride is the essential vice, the utmost evil, the great sin…
It has served as the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.
It was through pride that the devil became the devil.
As long as you are proud you cannot know God.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people;
and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. 
Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love…”
On the contrary, humble people look out of themselves in order to focus on the gifts and graces of others. Here is the best way I know to cultivate the virtue of humility:
Actively look for ways that God is at work in each other’s life. Make it your practice to observe how the Holy Spirit is evidencing His fruit and His gifts in each other’s life. This means that you work at actively praising, encouraging, and thanking each other for the ways that you see the Lord at work in each other’s lives.
To be specific: What is your spouse more aware of – evidences of grace that you’ve noticed in him or is he more aware of all the areas where you think he needs to grow and change? How about you? Pray and ask the Lord to show you specific things in your spouse’s life that you believe are  evidences of God’s grace  in his/her life and praise him/her for it.
So many couples find fault with each other and are constantly nitpicking. Refuse to do this. It will create distance between you and will turn a loving, intimate marriage into a cold and clinical one. Refuse to speak to one another in any way that cuts each other down, but speak words of grace that build each other up.
One Scripture that crystallizes what humility looks like is Philippians 2:1-8. Here is a paraphrase from The Message that portrays true humility:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ,
if his love has made any difference in your life,
if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you,
if you have a heart, if you care—
then do me a favor:
Agree with each other,
love each other,
be deep-spirited friends.
Don’t push your way to the front;
don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
He had equal status with God
but didn’t think so much of himself
that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.
Not at all.
When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave,
became human! Having become human, he stayed human.
It was an incredibly humbling process.
He didn’t claim special privileges.
Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life
and then died a selfless, obedient death—
and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.
The one who always knew the light of His Father’s presence humbled himself to live in poverty and die a criminal’s death to rescue us from our proud hearts, proud looks and proud lives.
The only sure way to be rescued from our natural tendency towards pride is to contemplate the cross of your Savior. This is the only thing that will continue to free you from the spiritual cancer of pride. The world will tell you to assert yourself, look out for yourself, believe in yourself. However, Jesus tells you, “if any man would follow me, let him deny himself and die to himself and come follow Me.”
I leave you with two beautiful quotes on this subject.
Charles Spurgeon:
“Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the drops of blood by which you have been cleansed;
see the thorned crown; mark his scourged shoulders, still gushing with crimsoned stripes;
see his hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and his whole self to mockery and scorn;
see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in his outward frame; hear the horrifying shriek, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it:
if you are not humbled to the dust by this picture, you do not know him.”
Martin Lloyd-Jones:
“There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust,
and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross
Nothing else can do it.  When I see that I am a sinner…
that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust…
Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.”
 
Prayer:
God our heavenly Father, you alone are God Most High.
Yet we contend regularly for supremacy with You.
Forgive us for all the times we have found fault with each other,
for all the ways that we have opted for control rather than truly loving one another.
Grant us grace today to put on the wardrobe of the Spirit
so that we might forget about ourselves and our needs
in order to truly love and serve each other
So work in our hearts that You progressively free us
from the boastful pride of life that we might live as
Your servant-hearted followers.
For we pray in the name of the only One
who had the right to assert Himself
yet He humbled Himself to serve and save us,
Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Three Avenues of Spiritual Attack and What To Do About Them

Our church is under spiritual attack. In fact, all churches are under attack. Every single believer in Christ is engaged in a constant, inescapable battle against spiritual degeneracy in three forms:  Our unbelief of God’s word, our lack of forgiveness of others, and our unhumbled pride in what we are and have done. So, I would like to propose a challenge for us this summer.

Here are three specific things for your concerted reflection and prayer which I have gleaned and adapted from reading J.I. Packer’s article, “Self-Care for Pastors: Riches from the Anglican Devotional Tradition” (Crux, December 2003/Vol. 34, No. 4, pp.2-13).

1.  Let us pray and ask the Lord to give us individually and corporately a greater capacity to trust Him and His promises. Packer writes: “In these days of liberal Christianity in our churches and post-Christianity in the culture outside, unbelief of God’s affirmations in the Bible and the gospel is rife.  Justification by faith (being accepted by God while yet a sinner) is not understood and divine promises are not received and trusted.”

Consider praying through a simple promise of Jesus for us like Matthew 16:18 or Matthew 28:18-20 and ask to increase your faith to trust the Lord to do what He says He will do. Why not heed the counsel of John Murray who urged believers to spend at least fifteen minutes every day meditating on some word of God connected with His promises to His people and then plead with Him for its fulfillment. If fifteen minutes seems a bit much, why not dedicate five?

2.     Let us pray and ask the Lord to give us the grace to forgive others the way that we have been forgiven. Packer speaks bluntly of this avenue of spiritual attack: “Unforgiveness, which is a form of unlove, is regularly an expression of hurt pride and resentment, disguised as self-respect.  As Jesus often warned, unforgiveness is a total block to the blessing of God” (Matthew 6:14-15, 18:21-35; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37). Wow! A total block? This should move us to examine our hearts to see if we are nursing a spirit of unforgiveness towards anybody.

Whom do you need to forgive? Yourself? Your spouse? An in-law? A fellow church member or pastor? Let’s resolve to become a church that models grace in all of our relationships as we forgive others just as God in Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). What an impact we would have in our city if we follow the Lord fully in this matter of forgiveness.

3.   Let us pray and ask the Lord to make us people who are marked by humility, free from the spiritual cancer of pride. At every stage of our Christian development, pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. The person who is always finding fault is full of pride. Pride is spiritual cancer because it eats up any possibility of truly loving others. Proud people are critical people. You need to look no further than the renowned Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice “who never looks at any woman but to see a blemish.”

Packer parses this avenue of spiritual attack with convicting precision: “Unhumbled pride, as is often said, takes four forms:  Pride of face, when you think you are most handsome; pride of race, when you think your skin is the best color; pride of place, when you think you are better positioned than others; and pride of grace, when you think you are one of God’s top people – and pride of grace is the worst of the lot.  All these forms of spiritual degeneration banish true spiritual joy, which for healthy believers is constant, and create pitfalls for pastors in abundance.”

On the other hand, humility is the blessed gift of self-forgetfulness. A humble person simply thinks of himself or herself less. Paul sets it forth beautifully in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

May I leave you with one helpful skill to cultivate the grace of humility. Actively look for ways that God is at work in the lives of other people around you. Ask yourself: Where have you seen God’s grace and Spirit at work in the lives of others in your family, your work place, and your church and tell them so?  Are the members of your family more aware of the evidences of grace that you’ve noticed in them or of your barrage of criticism?  How about your kids?  When was the last time you specifically shared with your son or daughter an evidence of God’s grace that you’ve noticed in his or her life?

Our vitality, unity and outward focus as a church are easily threatened by squabbles and conflicts. Please take this challenge personally and pray that the Lord would send times of refreshing from His presence so that we become people marked by our strong trust in the Lord and His promises, by our readiness to forgive others the way that we have been forgiven, and by our humility that willingly serves the interest of Jesus Christ in the lives of others.

A Man for Others in Radical Humility

J.I. .Packer highlights the spiritual battle we all face: “We are all engaged in a constant, inescapable battle against spiritual degeneracy in four forms:  Our unhumbled pride, our unbelief of God’s word, our lack of forgiveness of others, and our aversion to taking risks.  All these forms of spiritual degeneration banish true spiritual joy…”   (J.I. Packer, “Self-Care for Pastors,” Crux, December 2003/Vol. 34, No. 4, pp.2-13)
How are we to counter this spiritual degeneracy in our lives? Simply put: Ask the Lord to make you a man for others. The Apostle Paul sets forth this charge in Philippians chapter 2. What does it practically look like to become a man for others? There are four marks set forth in this passage of a man for others: Radical humility, loving forgiveness, vibrant faith, and bold risk-taking.
The first mark of becoming a man for others is a life of radical humility. The stimulus for developing a humble mind is to look at the cross. Jesus Christ, THE Man for others. He saved us rather than Himself on the cross. Reflect on that cross. Hear Christ speaking to you… “‘I am here for you.  It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’”

He died for you, now, how does He want you to live for Him?

A man for others looks for practical ways to mortify pride and cultivate humility (Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.)

John Stott would remind us that at every stage of our Christian development, pride is our greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.” Pride is spiritual cancer…humility is blessed self-forgetfulness.

Key Skill: Actively look for ways that God is at work in the lives of other people around you.
Make a practice of observing how the Spirit is evidencing His fruit and His gifts in the lives of others around you.  How about your wife?  What is she more aware of – evidences of grace that you’ve noticed or the need for change and your displeasure?  How about your children?  When was the last time you specifically and sincerely informed your child of an evidence of God’s grace that you’ve noticed in his or her life? The leader who is always finding fault is full of pride.

Prayer of Confession based upon Proverbs 6:16-19

Proverbs 22:8 – He who sows iniquity will reap calamity.
“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:”
Haughty eyes (Where and when have I looked down upon others—pride of race, face, place, and grace? Where and when have I possessed an exaggerated sense of my own opinions and interests, and a diminished awareness of the needs of others?
A lying tongue (Where have I succumbed to the hellish tactics of the devil by shading or not telling the truth?
Hands that shed innocent blood (Where have I belittled, insulted, hated, or killed my neighbor with thoughts, words, or gestures? Where am I battling the desire for revenge?)
A heart that devises wicked plans (Have I purposefully or unintentionally harmed another in thought, word, or deed? Where have I neglected to give a helping hand to someone in need?)
Feet that make haste to run to evil (Where have I been led astray by rash, unexamined and untested desires which have led me into sin?)
A false witness who breathes out lies (Where have I not been an advocate for justice and mercy? Where have I talked about others in a way that makes me look better than I am? Where have my words injured another person’s good reputation?)
One who sows discord among brothers (Where have I neglected to cultivate peaceful relationships with others? Where have I meddled in other people’s business, mocked their accomplishments, published their failures, or proudly announced my own achievements?
ASSURANCE OF GOSPEL GRACE Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Three Main Avenues of Spiritual Attack

Dr. J.I. Packer is one of my favorite theologians and writers. On many occasions he has brought clarity and insight to the Word of God for me. One article that has been particularly enriching is called “Self-Care for Pastors: Riches from the Anglican Devotional Tradition.”

In this article, he emphasizes that there are three main avenues of attack against leaders of Christ’s church.

He asserts:

“We are all engaged in a constant, inescapable battle against spiritual degeneracy in three forms:

  • Our unbelief of God’s word,
  • our lack of forgiveness of others,
  • and our unhumbled pride in what we are and have done.

In these days of liberal Christianity in our churches and post-Christianity in the culture outside, unbelief of God’s affirmations in the Bible and the gospel is rife. Justification by faith (being accepted by God while yet a sinner) is not understood and divine promises are not received and trusted.

Unforgiveness, which is a form of unlove, is regularly an expression of hurt pride and resentment, disguised as self-respect. As Jesus often warned (Matthew 6:14-15, 18:21-35; Mk. 11:25; Lk. 6:37), unforgiveness is a total block to the blessing of God.

Unhumbled pride, as is often said, takes four forms: Pride of face, when you think you are most handsome; pride of race, when you think your skin is the best color; pride of place, when you think you are better positioned than others; and pride of grace, when you think you are one of God’s top people and pride of grace is the worst of the lot. All these forms of spiritual degeneration banish true spiritual joy, which for healthy believers is constant, and create pitfalls for pastors in abundance.”

– (Crux, December 2003/Vol. 34, No. 4, pp.2-13)

In light of this, let us pray with renewed resolve that the Lord would make us:

  • people who have a greater capacity to trust God and His promises,
  • people who forgive others the way that we have been forgiven,
  • people who are marked by humility, free from the cancer of pride.

Proverbs: On The Cure for Spiritual Cancer

Prince Rabadash was the evil heir of Calormene.  He is portrayed as the supreme example of pride in CS Lewis’ chronicle The Horse and His Boy.

Rabadash lets a Narnian princess he wants to marry slip through his fingers. In his anger and disappointment, he calls for an attack on the land of Narnia. In the ensuing battle, Rabadash is captured. When he arrogantly refuses terms of surrender, Aslan appears and challenges him: “Forget your pride and your anger and accept the mercy of these good Kings” (208). Unfortunately for Rabadash, he lashes out at Aslan, calling him a demon, a foul fiend, and enemy of his own god – Tash. Aslan warns him . . . “Your doom is nearer now: it is at the door: it has lifted the latch” (209).  Rabadash continues to abuse Aslan until Aslan turns Rabadash into an ass: “‘Oh, not a Donkey! Mercy! If it were even a horse-even a horse-e’en-a-hor-eeh-auh, eeh-auh.’ And so the words died away into a donkey’s bray. . . Of course the Donkey twitched its ears forward-and that also was so funny that everybody laughed all the more. They tried not to, but they tried in vain” (210-11).

Rabadash’s pride not only makes him act like an ass, but he gets turned into one. In Rabadash, Lewis reminds us of the key verse on pride from the Proverbs: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

There is no fault…which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

J.I. Packer reminds us: We are all engaged in a constant, inescapable battle against the Pride of face, when you think you are most handsome; pride of race, when you think your skin is the best color; pride of place, when you think you are better positioned than others; and  pride of grace, which is the worst of all.

What is spiritual cancer?The LORD hates . . . a proud look” (Proverbs 6:16-17) – raised eyes…uplifted eyes. The way we look down on others in a superior, censorious way. Pride looks down on others. The Pharisee and the Publican…the elder brother upon his prodigal brother.

Pride is a “ravaging spiritual cancer.” Why?

It destroys your ability to love. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always brings enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.

Pride is the essential vice, the utmost evil, the great sin. It has served as the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.  Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love …

Secondly, pride hides itself so well in all other sins. In fact, it leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind…There is no sin that is not somehow rooted in pride. Consider a few examples: (p. 19).

Sexuality immorality is rooted in pride: “I deserve to have my pleasure, and I shouldn’t have to concern myself with the consequences.”

Lying: I do not trust that God can work through the truth. Therefore, I have more confidence in my ability to deceive and distort the facts.

Rebellion: I know better than my leaders…than my parents. Therefore, I can accomplish better things by doing what I want to do.

Ingratitude: I have what I have because I worked for it and I deserve it.

Discord: I have no need for relationship with you. I will be able to accomplish what I need to in life without you.

Pride hides itself best in “religious” attitudes and practices… Pride of grace, when you think you are one of God’s top people.

As a result of this prevailing sin in our hearts, we anger God, offend others, and destroy ourselves. Pride angers God by self-exaltation.  Proverbs 16:5 – The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. The person who is proud claims to be the sole architect of their achievements and possessions, taking the credit that belongs only to God. Humility is openly acknowledging that all that we are, do and obtain comes because of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Pride offends others with its self-preoccupation. Here are the telltale signs: “Are your conversations mainly about yourself? Do you do most of the talking in your interactions with others? When was the last time you served someone in a mundane way? Are you more worried about your position in the eyes of others or in God’s eyes? “Do you have an inflated view of your own abilities and importance, and look with contempt on those whom you think don’t reach your standards?”

Pride destroys yourself by self-deception. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (26:12). Apt description of pride. Pride results in self-deception, for it creates an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

Proverbs 16:18 – The results of lofty self-exaltation are calamitous: a total shattering of what the person has and is and a crashing down as from a high place (fall – stumbling off the edge of a bank or precipice).

Pride goes before a FALL. This principle is illustrated by the fate of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:29-32). It was when Haman who thought he was at the height of his power and about to receive the accolades of the Emperor when he was commanded to give way to Mordecai whom he despised (Esther 6:6-14).

How does pride reveal itself in us and among us? What are the chief practices of a proud heart? When pride comes, then comes dishonor…” (11:2)

  1. Uncharitableness – An absence of forbearing love. “Despises one’s neighbor” (11:12). Pride makes it impossible to love another when we have an exaggerated sense of our own importance. When we are proud, we find it nearly impossible to rejoice in the successes of others… but a person of understanding and wisdom sees much in his neighbor to move him to mercy and to stir up his prayers, but nothing to despise.
  2. Prayerlessness – Book: The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility: “Do you frequently, sincerely and with deep conviction pray and ask others to pray for the advancement of God’s kingdom work?” (p.49)
  3. Divisiveness – By pride comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who seek counsel (13:10). Pride is an ingredient of every quarrel – the clash of competing and unyielding personalities. Pride produces a closed mind that refuses advice and input. Pride undermines unity and ultimately divides.  Show me a family or church where there’s division, where there’s quarreling, and I’ll show you a family or church where pride is rife.
  4. Defensiveness – A proud person does not listen well…lacks teachability. PRIDE produces an inability and unwillingness to mourn over your sin and that of others. Proverbs 9:8 – Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Proverbs 15:31 – He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. 17:10 – A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Pride is not quick to admit wrong. When we resist the counsel or correction of others. Taking advice and heeding counsel. The wise are those who solicit advice and counsel.
  5. Presumptiveness – We boast about what we are going to accomplish. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (27:1). We lack power to predict the future as well as to truly evaluate ourselves (27:2).
  6. Rebelliousness – Proverbs 30:11-13 – In family relationships. Unchecked pride leads to one activity.  Look in Philippians 2:14.  Grumbling and complaining

How do we cure pride and cultivate humility? The Prescription for Pride.

CONFESS: C.S. Lewis: “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”

CONTEMPLATE THE CROSS OF CHRIST: The one who always knew the light of His Father’s presence and glory humbled himself to live in poverty and die in disgrace. Contemplate His cross. It will progressively free you from the spiritual cancer of pride and contending for supremacy with God and with others. The world will tell you assert yourself, look out for yourself, believe in yourself. Jesus tells you, if any man would follow me, let him deny himself and die to himself and come follow Me.

Charles Spurgeon: “Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the drops of blood by which you have been cleansed; see the thorned crown; mark his scourged shoulders, still gushing with crimsoned stripes; see his hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and his whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in his outward frame; hear the horrifying shriek, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled to the dust by this picture, you do not know him.”

Martin Lloyd-Jones:  “There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross.  Nothing else can do it.  When I see that I am a sinner…that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust…Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.”

PURSUE THE PATTERN OF CHRIST: Philippians 2:5-8… Lewis writes: “If you meet a really humble man… Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him…”

THE CHOICE IS BEFORE YOU… Pride or humility…you must choose the companion who will either drag you into shame or lead you to wisdom.