~ This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, The Role of Humility in Our Lives (part 6), from Agathos Church – a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio by clicking here.
Humility is about other people. It is that simple. Pride is exactly the inverse – “it is all about ME!”
When James talks about “bitter envy and self-seeking” in James 3, he is referring to pride:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” (James 3:14-15)
Notice James is clarifying yet again the origin of all prideful thoughts and actions: “this wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”
Pride is from Hell.
Now, notice the next verse: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16). In other words, a location of pride also becomes a location of confusion and all types of evil. Think about that. Because pride is from Hell, when you invite pride to come stay with you, Hell comes with it.
Don’t overcomplicate it. If for no other reason, don’t get into pride simply so your day does not stink! Yes, there are many other benefits of humility . . . pleasing God, being a blessing to others, not hindering your relationships, etc. But there is a substantial personal benefit to humility as well – it keeps “all types of evil” from spending the afternoon with you!
So, if you see self-seeking in a thought trail you are venturing down . . . probably stop “walking.”
To make it more clear, even if you are just frustrated with a person, that is a low level of anger – and a tell-tale sign of pride. All unrighteous anger comes from pride. Notice, Jesus never got unrighteously angry. For instance, the Pharisees said many slanderous things about Him and it did not bother Him. The only thing that made Him angry was when people were acting in a way to keep others from knowing His Father. In other words, Jesus’ righteous anger did not have anything to do with Him, because . . .
self-seeking was not in Jesus’ heart.