All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
One of the great dangers of the Christian life is that you can think you are moving forward but actually be standing still. It is possible to be very active in serving Jesus, throwing enormous energy into serving Him, and yet lose our effectiveness because we have become proud.
Pride is very subtle. It is like a cataract that grows over the eye so that we no longer see ourselves clearly. In fact, we may be in the most danger of being proud when we think that we are humble. When you’re preoccupied with yourself, that’s the root of pride.
There are two ways you can be preoccupied with yourself: you can be preoccupied with your own greatness or your own smallness, depending upon how you see yourself. When we measure ourselves against others, pride is at the root of it.
Humility, on the other hand, is a release from that dreadful preoccupation with self. It is a beautiful reflection of the character of Jesus.
Though we often think of humility in terms of our faults and our sins, Jesus had no faults. He was without sin, and yet He is our model of humility. Jesus had all gifts and there was nothing that He could not do, yet He walked in humility.
The very essence of the gospel is humility—that you and I have come to the point of saying, “I need the mercy of God.” If the gospel said, “You’re saved by being a good person,” then all good people would have something to boast about. But the gospel says that it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Are you more tempted to focus on your own bigness or your own smallness?