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Long, long ago in a realm far, far away there was a beautiful kingdom with beautiful creatures ruled by a loving and gracious king until one day one of the creatures decided he could rule better than the gracious king. He wanted to be in charge of kingdom and have all the other creatures worship him. He secretly led many of the creatures to rebel against the gracious king. After the war was over the good king was victorious. He exiled the rebellious leader and his defiant followers to a far off land. This land was lush and beautiful but it didn’t take long before their evil ravaged their new home turning it into a wasteland.
The gracious king restored the wasteland and populated it with new creatures. Jealous of the king’s love of these new creatures the evil leader, full of pride, set out to destroy the very thing the king loved. Now this evil leader possessed great cunning and through deceit he caused the king’s new creatures to turn away believing the gracious king really didn’t love them. The king’s new creation also rebelled and eventually became like the evil creatures filled with pride.
But the gracious king knew the nature of his creation and the evil of his fallen creatures so he already had a plan to cure the land of the evil once and for all. He sent his son, the prince of the far off realm, to remove the evil from the land. Some embraced the son while most chose to remain in their prideful, rebellious state. After many, many years the good prince defeated the evil creatures and those who followed him were restored to their original beauty.
“enemy occupied territory – that is what this world is” ~ ~ C S Lewis
Of course this is only a simplification of the story of the original. I’ve often heard the original sin was sexual in nature but if you look closely at the history of sin you will find the truth behind the original sin.
So what was the original sin? It was the sin of pride.
Who was the original sinner? Eve? Adam? No, it was Lucifer, one of God’s most precious angels who through pride rebelled against his Lord. Adam and Eve’s sin was a sin of doubt and of lack of trust. For a moment they believed the enemy that God was holding out on them.
We continue to feel the effects of their sin but do not be deceived. It was Lucifer’s sin of pride and his need to be above God that led to his rebellion which keeps us in our sinful nature to this day. It was Lucifer’s hatred of God that caused him to taint God’s creation, and he is still at it today, tempting us, taunting us, accusing us, and making us feel that God is holding out on us. Then through our lack of trust, our doubt leads to an attitude of independence and belief we too know better than God. This pride doesn’t end with God but carries over into all our relationships and our attitude toward all of God’s creation. Like the enemy, we too seek to destroy all the Good King’s creation, including our own hearts.
We can fight this. First we must realize we are in a war for our very souls. Our enemy continues to whisper lies, deceiving us into thinking God’s love isn’t true, that he is holding out his best from us. We must break our pride and bow our hearts before our King, the one who can free us from this curse.
Pride may keep us from being humble but realizing how much Jesus has done for us, realizing we’re forgiven, will melt that pride as we realize who we are in Jesus. Check out these lyrics to the song Forgiven by Sanctus Real and remind yourself all God has done for you. Humble your heart before him.
Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just won’t let me forget
In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven
My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days, in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride
Sometimes I feel alone, and I cry
And in this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am
Well, I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
‘Cause I’m forgiven
When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ
‘Cause I’m forgiven
Well, I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
‘Cause I’m forgiven.
Check out the video Forgiven by Sanctus Real
This little phrase can be heard every so often around my home and while humorous when thrown around by family members to that occasional whiner, we must always remember the feelings of others. Humble yourself before God and others.
Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.
Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.
Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.
I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.
Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.
Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.
C S Lewis said, “Pride leads to every other vice…. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man…If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud”.
So very few are truly humble, a little dab of pride lingers in all of us. That doesn’t mean we should let pride run amuck in our lives. And we must not only humble ourselves before God but also those God loves. And who are they? Everyone on the planet.
Change is a process and becoming more humble will need much time and work. Pride is a nasty virus and the cure is rough, but it can be done. Once the initial infection is put in check continue treatment just as you would with any antibiotic. Like any aggressive disease it will strike again unless we daily die to it and to ourselves. If you don’t humble yourself you can be sure that God will do it for you (Luke 14:11).
Tips on humbling yourself:
- Get on your knees physically or in your heart. The act of kneeling in prayer has a humbling effect. (Psalm 95:6)
- Show gratitude by giving God the glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Choose humility. We can choose to be full of ourselves or full of God, it’s our choice. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
- Humility is a fruit of the Spirit, ask Him for it: longsuffering, meekness, temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:12)
- Shut up. Some things really don’t need said. (Proverbs 21:23)
- Appreciate others and give credit where due. (Luke 6:31)
- Be a peacemaker. If you have a disagreement with someone be the first to say “I’m sorry”. (Ephesians 4:26)
- Make an effort to serve others. (1 Peter 4:10)
- Don’t compare yourself to others. (Galatians 1:10)
- Accept your limitations, you can’t do it all. Even our greatest talents require dependence on God. Without Him we wouldn’t be talented. Let your weaknesses humble you. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Become as a little child. (Matthew 18:4)
- Count your blessings. Keep a journal of all you have to be grateful for. (James 1:2)
- Admit mistakes and be quick to repent. (Proverbs 28:13)
Choose one of the tips above that you believe is a problem in your life. Pray about it, make a plan of action to conquer this area, thank God for his help and praise Him for your deliverance. Choose a verse or verses (below) to memorize for when you are tempted to let pride rear up again. Do it daily: die to this part of yourself every day.
Bible Verses on Humility & Pride
|Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)||When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.|
|Romans 12:10 (ESV)||Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Bottom of Form|
|1 Corinthians 1:28-29 (NIV)||God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. Bottom of Form|
|1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)||Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Bottom of Form|
|2 Corinthians 11:30 (ESV)||If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. Bottom of Form|
|James 3:13 (NIV)||Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Bottom of Form|
|Proverbs 18:12 (NIV)||Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.|
|Jeremiah 9:23 (ESV)||Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his richesBottom of Form|
|Luke 9:48 (NIV)||“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Bottom of Form|
|Matthew 6:2 (NIV)||So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Bottom of Form|
|Philippians 4:12 (ESV)||I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Bottom of Form|
|Psalm 147:6 (ESV)||The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Bottom of Form|
|Romans 12:16 (NIV)||Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Bottom of Form|
|Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)||The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Bottom of Form|
|1 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)||Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. Bottom of Form|
|2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)||If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Bottom of Form|
|2 Corinthians 3:5 (ESV)||Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God Bottom of Form|
|Jeremiah 45:5 (ESV)||And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” Bottom of Form|
|Mark 10:43 (ESV)||But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servantBottom of Form|
|Philippians 2:3 (NIV)||Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Bottom of Form|
|Proverbs 29:23 (NIV)||Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. Bottom of Form|
|Romans 12:3 (ESV)||For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Bottom of Form|
|1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)||Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Bottom of Form|
|Colossians 3:12 (NIV)||Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.|
|James 4:6 (ESV)||But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Bottom of Form|
|Luke 14:11 (ESV)||Top of FormFor everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Bottom of Form|
|Matthew 23:12 (ESV)||Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Bottom of Form|
|Psalm 25:9 (ESV)||He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Bottom of Form|
The less I pray, the harder things get,
Trials and troubles, always beset.
The more I pray, the better things are,
I need wisdom that comes from afar.
His best answers come at His own pace,
We must be patient, and wait for His grace.
He alone knows what for us is best,
Sometimes He’ll say “No” to our request.
Delayed answers are trials of faith,
Honor Him, with your every breath.
Confidence in Him should be steadfast,
Our faith should be strong, one that will last.
To be humble means we can’t go alone,
We need His help, lest we stumble and groan.
Your faith is renewed when you pray,
So go to Him oft’ thru’ ev’ry day.
Much words without heart; this God does hate,
Few words from the heart; will ne’er frustrate.
When you pray, you grasp God’s willingness,
Prayer from the heart; He’ll always bless!
God makes many promises; all so great,
All null and void, ‘less we grab them in faith.
They can come to life for me and you,
By trust, faith and prayer; always true.
~ ~ Connie Kramer ~ ~
We are commanded to be humble. We can’t enter God’s kingdom without humility, not His kingdom here on earth or his heavenly kingdom. Humility is the key to have all you want in life. Humility is needed for forgiveness, answered prayers, and it opens door to blessings. It is the virtue we all need to seek after but pride prevents us from seeing that. It’s especially hard for those who are talented but eventually if you don’t depend on God he will take those away.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3 (NIV)
The price is higher than you might think and is hardest virtue to learn. What is the root of this difficulty? Pride. You can’t be full of yourself and obey God or live the life Jesus died for. Humility comes before exaltation; pride before destruction.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
**What are the characteristics of a humble person?
- They give credit where credit’s due
- They’re patient with the faults of others
- They are quick to forgive
- They are quick to repent
- They are lovers of peace
- They enjoy serving others
- They have a teachable spirit
- They ask for help when it’s needed
- They accept their weaknesses
- They have a thankful attitude
How many of these characteristics describe you?
There’s a lot of grace for the humble. When we give God glory we are able to rest and prosper in our souls. The walk of faith starts with humility, depending on God to show up. The attitude “I did it my way” will only leave you feeling exhausted. Once you “do it God’s way” you’ll know true peace.
You can choose the road of humility or wait and be humbled by God.
**Adapted from Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking
A Prayer for Humility
Jesus, show me where I have a problem with pride so that I may humble myself before you.
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Links to other Attitudes in this series
Introduction to Attitudes
Patience is one attitude that improves through pain. You want to be more patient? Ask for it and you’ll get all kinds of opportunities to practice it. So how can we gain more of this difficult attitude without asking for more opportunities? Practice patience on our everyday annoyances. Here are a few tips.
It’s not all about me.
Why are we all in such a hurry? Why do we tend to “lose it” when we’re rushed? I enjoy cooking most of the time but you add a time limit such as my daughter needing to eat by a certain time and Ms. Hyde comes to visit. I have learned to not hurry, to plan for uncertainties but living with others often pops that proverbial balloon. Anger, frustration and impatience are all spelt the same way P-R-I-D-E. It says I’m better than you. Unchecked that attitude will always bring a fall. I know I’m tired of falling so I learned to make adjustments. To quench my dinnertime impatience and frustration I began making dinner in the morning and it’s ready to heat it up later.
Don’t hold everyone else accountable to some unattainable standard. People will make us late and babies will make messes. Life happens. To quench that impatient attitude try leaving earlier, starting a project sooner or doing less in a given amount of time – and the big challenge for me – delegate.
Discover the triggers and patterns that fuel impatience.
Discover the root of impatience then it will easier to change that behavior. Are there fears at work? Disappointments you’re trying to avoid? Are there certain circumstances, situations or people who trigger an impatient attitude? Keeping a journal may be effective in understanding our triggers and patterns of impatience, anxiety and frustration. Be prepared and learn to expect the unexpected then you’ll be less likely to be thrown off. When you discover your triggers and patterns start attacking the small things and break down the mountains into more manageable pieces. Practice ahead of time with visualization seeing yourself in a stressful situation where your patience is being worn thin. Picture yourself reacting in a peaceful, patient way.
Change your mental attitude:
Of course changing how the mind works isn’t easy and it’s never ending task but we can learn new behaviors. Luckily there are strategies that can help improve an impatient mindset.
- Relax: take a deep breath and give your mind a few seconds of relief. Count to ten. Take a moment to meditate.
- If it’s out of your control let it go. This of course may seem impossible but it will be helpful to develop healthy distractions. Be prepared with something that will occupy your mind and body.
- Learn a language or memorize a bible verse. I kept small cards with me to practice Spanish as a distraction while waiting; now I keep reading materials in my phone.
- Play a game, on your phone or bring actual cards with you. I play a one-handed solitaire game.
- Listen to music or watch a video on your phone. You can find plenty of humor on YouTube
- Make it physical: Practice muscle toning exercises that can be done anywhere. Tightening and relaxing muscles relieves stress.
- Give yourself a time out. When my grandson gets overcome with impatience or frustration and throws a fit he goes in time out. After a few minutes he’s a different little boy.
This too shall pass.
Keep in mind it will take time and waiting will always be a part of your life. How we wait determines who we become – stressed out or a mind of peace. Anything worth having is worth waiting for so keep practicing a patient attitude. Keep in mind what really matters: peace of mind, forgiveness, kindness and love.
If all else fails – Laugh! It’s hard to feel stressed or anxious with a big grin and a bouncing belly.
Consequences of Impatience
Impatience can cause many mental and physical problems: stress, worry, relational problems and some of these can have long-term consequences. Impatience has brought about some of the biggest blunders in the Bible that still affect us today. Here are just a few of the big ones:
- Israel wandering in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Not waiting on God’s timing resulted in a 40 year road trip that should have taken eleven days. And even within this story there are many examples of impatience. Moses’ impatience kept him from entering the promised land. (Exodus through Deuteronomy)
- Abraham & Sarah, not waiting on God’s timing, chose to have a baby with another woman instead of waiting on God. This resulted in the birth of two nations that are still at odds today. (Genesis 15-16,21)
- Esau sold his birthright for a moment of hunger. He lost everything because of impatience. (Genesis 25)
- And let’s not forget Adam and Eve. There impatience for knowledge doomed the rest of humanity to a world of pain. (Genesis 1-3)
When you’re feeling impatient just say to yourself “It’s not all about me.”
Books on a Patient Attitude
The Power of Faithful Focus by Less Hewitt & Charles Self
Imperative people: Those who much be in control by Les Carter
Faith by Phil Pringle
Bible verses to meditation to overcome impatience:
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (ESV)
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:25 (ESV)
Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
Psalm 37:34 (NLT)
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil
2 Timothy 2:24 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Galatians 5:22 (ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience
Colossians 3:12 (ESV)