“Pride is the worst viper in the heart. . . . It lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin. Of all lusts, it is the most secret, deceitful, and unsearchable in its ways of working. It is ready to mix with everything. Nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence. There’s not one sin that does so much to let the devil into the hearts of the saints and expose them to his delusions.”
That is how Jonathan Edwards describes humility’s antithesis — pride. Nothing so infects our total being as pride. Pride rends nations as ethnic groups assert themselves. Pride corrupts governments as politicians enrich themselves. Pride destroys businesses as executives wink at accountability. Pride neutralizes the gospel as church members celebrate themselves. Pride tears apart marriages as couples isolate themselves.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5–11).
That is how Paul describes pride’s antithesis — humility. Everything we need for redemption is contained in these verses. Here the awesome splendor of Christ is displayed. The wonder is that God the Son should leave His place of glory, become like us, redeem us, and then rightfully resume His proper kingly station. Our lives become much less important if we are caught up in His life. For the Christian, the pursuit of humility is not first an ethical imperative. Humility is bowing the knee to Jesus as He is offered to us in the gospel, renouncing our personal claims, and then following Him in service to others.
Humility is the key that unlocks love for God and neighbor in nations, businesses, churches, and homes. Pride puts me on display; humility reveals Jesus.