Humility over Pride
(Adapted from the sermon, A Living Thanksgiving)
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”Matthew 5:3 (NLT)
The last possible reason that prevented the nine lepers from returning to thank Jesus was pride. They might have been arrogant and self-reliant, as if they didn’t need him or anyone else. They might have been boastful and self-righteous, as if they were better than others or above the law. They might have been stubborn and rebellious, as if they knew better than God or could do without him. They might have been insecure and defensive, as if they were afraid of being vulnerable or exposed.
Pride is a destructive attitude that can ruin our relationship with God and with others. It can make us blind and deaf, and make us resist or reject the truth. It can make us hard and harsh, and make us hurt or offend others. It can make us forget that we are sinners, and make us justify ourselves or blame others. It can make us miss out on God’s grace, and make us forfeit his blessings.
How can we overcome pride and cultivate a heart of gratitude? One way is to follow the teaching of Jesus, who said in Matthew 5:3, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Jesus was the humblest person who ever lived, who emptied himself of his glory and became a servant. He cared for the poor, the sick, the outcasts, and the sinners. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our salvation. He invites us to follow him and to share in his kingdom.
Being poor in spirit means recognizing our need for God and our dependence on him. It means acknowledging that we are sinners and that we need his forgiveness and grace. It means seeking his kingdom and his righteousness, and not our own. It means surrendering our pride and fears to him, and trusting in his love and power. It means thanking him for what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do.
- How do you identify and deal with pride in your life? What are some situations that cause you to be prideful?
- How do you respond when you are confronted, corrected, or challenged? Do you humble yourself, admit your mistakes, and learn from them? Or do you defend yourself, justify your actions, and ignore them?
- How do you remind yourself that you are a sinner in need of God’s grace, and that he is the source of your salvation and joy?
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Think of a situation in your life where you might have been prideful, such as a conflict, a mistake, a failure, or a success. How did you react when you faced this situation? Did you humble yourself, admit your need for God, and seek his will? Or did you rely on yourself, deny your need for God, and follow your own will? Ask God to forgive you for your pride and to help you to be humble. Thank him for his grace and mercy. Praise him for his love and power.
LOVE IN ACTION: Think of someone who has humbled you or helped you in some way, either intentionally or unintentionally, such as a critic, a mentor, a friend, or a stranger. How did you respond to their influence? Did you appreciate their honesty, wisdom, kindness, or generosity? Or did you resent their feedback, advice, support, or gift? Show them your gratitude by doing something kind for them, such as giving them a gift, a card, a compliment, or a hug. Let them know how much they mean to you and how they have made a difference in your life.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for your amazing grace and love. Thank you for humbling yourself and becoming a servant. Thank you for dying for me and rising for me. Forgive me for my pride and arrogance. Help me to overcome them and to cultivate a heart of gratitude. Help me to be poor in spirit and to realize my need for you. Help me to live a life of thanksgiving, not just on one day, but every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.