6 "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."
James 4:6 (NIV)
Athlete, are you humble?
The definition means meek, deferential, respectful, submissive, unassuming … are you squirming yet? When God convicted me — that He really does mean what He says about pride — I was ill-equipped to dismantle my proud heart.
I searched the Bible in desperation to see if there was wiggle room, but the descriptive phrases used to describe the proud were powerful.
God opposes the proud.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace.
Where there is strife, there is pride.
The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
Pride goes before destruction.
The proud behaves with insolent fury.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek God.
His heart became arrogant and hardened with pride.
As these verses began to soak in, I sought to find ways in my day to display humility while I fought to stave off pride. Here are some of the paradigm shifts we need to consider:
The proud athlete says, “I failed; I’m horrible!” The humble athlete says, “I can’t do that skill yet; I’m still learning.”
The proud athlete says, “It’s all about me.” The humble athlete says, “It’s all about others, team, you, God.”
The proud athlete says, “I don’t really care what you think!” The humble athlete says, “I’m listening to you; let’s work it out together.”
The proud athlete says, “I may be wrong but I will never apologize.” The humble athlete says, “I am sorry; I was wrong; will you forgive me?”
The proud athlete says, “I already know!” The humble athlete says, “I’m listening; teach me.”
The proud athlete says, “I don’t need anybody.” The humble athlete says, “I need you, my teammates, God.”
This is not an exhaustive list, but a beginning, a place to start the conversation. I want to encourage you that these are hard but necessary changes that all believers are called to make.
You can learn new ways of relating as humble teammates, and God can renew your minds to make humility your trademark.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time” 1 Peter 5:6.
A prayer to consider: Lord, make me humble. Teach me new things about walking like Jesus walked, and help me lay down my misplaced pride.