Have you ever found yourself caught by your words or actions in a place that you really didn’t want to be? Maybe you said something that wasn’t quite true, or you boasted about something that was really beyond what you were capable of? Or, as I so often find myself, forgetting the name of a friend in a crucial moment of introducing them to another friend? You’re at a crossroads, a junction between two paths. The way of pride is wide and smooth and your ego knows the way, while the way of humility appears uninviting and not used. Solomon put it like this:
17: The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19: It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. (ESV)
So many times in my life I’ve taken the path of pride. My fears and ego push me past the warning signs along the way that indicate this path is leading to destruction. I justify myself as I keep going the wrong way. The next thing I know, I’m in a pit looking up at my circumstances, wishing that I’d turned around miles before.
At times the path to destruction is much more subtle. Pride can sneak in when we over commit to too much, many of which are good things we’ve wanted to do; or, as I so often do, I don’t say “no”. The cost to this is working long hours till I’m completely spent. My superman cape is tattered, and my family gets the worst of me.
Thankfully at the bottom of every pit, there is also a small pathway leading out marked “Humility”. Wisdom stands at the entrance to that path, beckoning for us to follow. When you get on the path, you find the initial ascent is steep as you admit that you were wrong. Wisdom helps you navigate up the hill, holding you up when you think you can’t make it. The path quickly levels out again, and you can begin to breathe. The weight of your mistake lightens as you continue in humility. Soon you are no longer being pulled backwards to that pit and you can see a smooth road gently sloping upwards to victory.
This picture isn’t mine, but is the compilation of a few verses in scripture:
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (ESV)
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. (ESV) Psalm 147:6
The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. (ESV)
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. (ESV)
I’m learning that if I take the path of humility sooner, I can skip the despair and dread of humiliation. Those that I love get to see the happy me. I’m not bound to commitments that I can’t keep and I am free to live as God intended me to live.
May you experience the delight of the Lord over you, and receive the crown of victory that humility brings.
•Tim McKeon lives with his family in Blackshear. He is a mining engineer who loves to encourage people in their walk with God.