I recently heard a pastor describe himself as not in that caliber as he began to describe many well known preachers and men of God. He had been asked to preach at a place where several men of God who pastor large churches or have written various books have preached. Indeed, it is a place where preaching is taught, and of course many professors were in the audience. 

Perhaps, it would have been ok to make a single statement like he did, but he kept on repeating how his sermon was more like scraps compared to others who have preached there, and for that reason he would apologize throughout his message. 

It began to be to the point where you sense that in his endeavor to be humble, he was falling into what is known as false humility. We all deal with pride, and we all have those prideful thoughts and to say that you have reached a point of being humble really says quite the opposite.  What many people do to avoid feeding this fleshly appetite of pride is they began to discredit themselves, they begin representing themselves very poorly. It is one thing to know that you cannot accomplish a certain task without the help of God, and quite another thing to bash yourself. 

Humility is not degrading yourself, it is not to look down on yourself while you think about how bad  you are or that you cannot compare to others. In essence, when you are doing this you are still focusing on yourself, which is not humility. Humility is never focused on self, rather it is always focused on others

Sure the preacher meant well, he was not trying to put the focus on himself, but in reality, that is who he was focused on. False humility is the same as pride. So what can we do, how can we battle pride? If it is a constant battle, and because  we could never claim to of mastered humility, then how can we fight the evilness of pride. Well, just because we cannot master it, does not mean we cannot practice it. 

We must realize who we are in Christ.

Now, you might say, well that seems to be a focus on the self. Well in a way I guess you could say that, but the point is to understand our identity, and if we understand our identity then we will be able to accomplish the task without a focus on ourselves. One thing I have tried to implement in my own life, and especially anytime before I preach or teach, really anytime the attention is on me, I remind myself of what Jesus told His disciples. 

The eve of His crucifixion, as He and His disciples make their way to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus uses an illustration about abiding in Him (John 15:1-17).  He  says that He is the vine, His Father is the vinedresser, and then He describes His disciples as the branches. Now, just as any branch it must remain in the vine to have life, if not it will wither and die. He goes on to charge his disciples to abide in His love, which is shown by obedience, He tells them to love one another just as He has loved them, and then He says this:

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

Here, Jesus calls His followers to recognize their identity. He is the one who appointed us, that we may go and bear fruit, therefore He is the one we are to serve. If we think in this way, then no matter what the task nor how much attention is brought to us, He is the one who gets the glory! But remember this is a battle, our battle of pride, hence we must think in this way. We must remember who appointed us. 

Now obviously it is more than a mere thought, it needs to be applied to the way in which we serve Him. I have found that when I think in this way, it frees me of feeling the grip of prideful thoughts. Again, it is a battle in the mind, Satan wants none other than for you to lust over arrogance in your thoughts, and for this reason we must battle. We battle by not lusting in our mind, rather we confront it with truth, just as we should with any scheme of Satan. The root of all evil is pride, by whom the source is Satan himself, it is his sin. (Is 14:12-14; Ez 28:12-17; Gen 3)

If I think about who it is that appointed me, I can accomplish the task given to me with confidence in Him, and it frees me of taking the glory for His task. 

It also helps the way I view others. 

While attending Seminary it has been very difficult to not judge others, especially in the area of pride. Again, it is a mental battle and if I look at them in the same way of who it is that appointed them it causes me to fight off the judgement, which could indeed be false. 

It also, allows me to focus on others. 

Everything we do as followers of Christ, is not for ourselves but more so the emphasis is on God first, and then on others. The second part of what Jesus said was, that we may ask the Father in His name so that the Father may give it to us. We must understand that humility is never about ourselves, rather it is always about God and others. 

Everything we ask for from God, if we are asking according to His will should be for the benefit of others. The whole time Jesus had been speaking of abiding in His love, which is obedience, and he then charged His disciples to love one another and not just in any way, but the way in which He loved them. 

Jesus loved them, by loving His Father. We in return Love others by Loving God. Therefore, our lives should be a display of godliness, the character of Jesus Christ. We should pray for these things! This is what Jesus means when He says ask the Father! This is also why John said:

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." (1 Jn 5:14,15)
It is always God's will that we are conformed into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). 

We all deal with prideful thoughts, but it is the way in which we react to those thoughts that it becomes pride. Humility is a practice, not an art that is mastered. At least not in this life. 

Satan desperately desires to neutralize you by keeping you from doing anything for God because of pride; and on the other hand he wants you to fall into pride. Don't let him deceive you, fight against his schemes with Truth.

Love God, Love People

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