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Philippians 2:3 calls us to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Paul’s words here could not be any more counter-cultural. The sermons of the world bend our hearts to be consumed with self. We have to be students of what we read and watch; we need to pay attention to how these things aim to form, or rather deform, us – because they are trying to shape us and mold our desires.

Think about some of the popular slogans constantly buzzing around us: “Just do it.” “Why wait?” “Obey your thirst.” “Because Your Worth It.” “I’m Lovin’ It.” “No boundaries.” “Think Different.” “Expect More. Pay Less.” “Taste the feeling.” In other words, be selfish, instantly gratify yourself, and don’t conform to anything or anyone.

Questions to Evaluate Pride
Christian brothers and sisters, to help us evaluate our lives for selfish ambition and conceit, that we might root it out, here are a few questions?

  • Do you often complain or grumble when things don’t meet your expectations?
  • Are you consumed with what others think about you?
  • Are you easily angered or irritated?
  • Are you bitter at God because your life isn’t the way you hoped it would be?
  • When someone disagrees with you or criticizes are you automatically defensive?
  • Do you invite others to speak into your life?
  • Do you compare yourself to others and think you are better?
  • Do you minimize or intentionally cover up your sin and shortcomings?
  • When was the last time the words you said, “I’m sorry, I sinned against you. Will you forgive me?”
  • How’s your prayer life? If your life is prayerless, it’s a pretty good indicator that your soul is prideful.

The Cross Crushes Pride
The cross is the great intersection of pride and humility. It was our pride that killed Christ; it was Christ’s humility that saved us. Pride made redemption necessary; humility made redemption possible. Rightly understood the cross should absolutely crush any selfish ambition and conceit in us.

We were so rebellious, our sin so grievous, that it took the death of God’s eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to make payment for our sin and reconcile us back to God. From the shadow of the cross we realize that we are prideful and our pride drove the nails into the hands and feet of Christ.

Stop and think about that. It’s humbling.

But it should not be disheartening. Yes, you are more sinful than you dared to think. But, Christian brother and sister, you are more loved than you dared to dream. The cross reminds us that we are helpless, but it does not mean we are worthless.

From the shadow of the cross we realize Christ humbly and willingly gave his life. God lavishes his grace upon you and has set his affections upon you, Christian. And Jesus rose from the dead conquering death for us that we might be made new. It is with this new identity that we can pursue humility becoming like our humble God.

In verses 5-11 of Philippians 2, we see the greatest example of humility that’s ever taken place. The great condescension – an infinite cascade of humility. The eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, worshiped by heavenly beings, comes in the fullness of flesh to be crucified by men. The root of Christian humility is the good news, the infinitely glorious news, that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again that I might be counted as a child of God the Father. “His humility became our salvation. His salvation is our humility.” [1]

When our eyes are opened up to this truth, we’re humbled. And God’s grace flows to those pursuing true humility: “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). “God delights in the humble” (Psalm 149:4). “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Pride so fills up our hearts with self that there’s no room for God; it’s the humble heart that has enough room for God’s grace to fill it up. Like water that flows to the lowest point, so does God’s grace flow to those who are lowly. So the cross of Christ is both the pattern of humility and the power for humility.

[1] Andrew Murray, Humility (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2001), 17.

© 2017 Restoration Church
Making Disciples that Delight in the Supremacy of Jesus Christ