Shelby G. Floyd
There are two human attitudes which are as far apart as the North Pole is from the South Pole. Those two attitudes are pride and humility. The Bible warns repeatedly concerning the attitude of pride, and the Bible repeatedly admonishes us and encourages us to take on the spirit of humility.
John Ruskin once wrote,
“I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility doubt of his own powers, but really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them, and they see something divine in every other man, and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”
Another writer, B. F. Riley, said, “Lowliness is essential to loftiness.” Someone has said concerning humility, “Lowliness is the base of every virtue, and he who goes the lowest builds the safest.” Still another writer has pointed out that, “A sound head, an honest heart and a humble spirit are the three best guides through time and to eternity.” Each of these statements simply expresses the teaching of the New Testament scriptures concerning the importance of humility on the part of every child of God.
The Spirit of Pride
The egotistical, self-seeking, arrogant spirit of many today is nothing new under the sun. Even the apostles of Jesus Christ had this spirit, and Jesus repeatedly had to correct their attitudes, and teach them the spirit of humility.
On one occasion the disciples asked Jesus the pointed question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus answered their question by calling a little child unto him, and by setting this little child in the midst of the apostles. Having done this he said,
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18: 3-4 ESV).
Was this teaching of Jesus Christ on this occasion sufficient to change the attitude of the apostles from pride, egotism and a haughty spirit to that of the humility of a little child? No, definitely it was not, for just two chapters later, in the gospel according to Matthew, we find that this spirit was still among them.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, desired preeminent places of power, influence and prestige in what they thought would be an earthly kingdom. They sent their mother to ask Christ for the right hand and the left hand position when he would come in his kingdom. However the worldly spirit and attitude of the apostles could not be characteristic of them in the kingdom of God. His kingdom was not to be worldly, but spiritual in nature. The kingdom of God would be the reign of God in the hearts of men. Jesus said one time, “The kingdom of God is within you,” that is, it is a spiritual reign within the hearts of men. Continue reading “Be Not High-Minded”