“Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” – Proverbs 16:5
How often we miss the blunt directness with which the Scripture, and consequently, God, speaks to us. We may read His Word as though God is merely making suggestions to us, rather than clear and unwavering commands. It happens to be the way things are, even though we may be offended by the truth as it is. But I rather think we should much more appreciate knowing and accepting the truth, rather than dancing around what really is.
Grace is a concept we too often count on erroneously to escape the consequences of sin, but grace is never meant to allow you to live as an antinomian; meaning to live as though there are no laws to be obeyed, but able to be ignored without consequence. God’s universe is governed by laws of nature designed by a Creator. Your own life is governed by laws such as gravity or the requirement of oxygen. If you fall from a cliff or tree, you suffer the consequences; if your brain is deprived of oxygen, you die. If you defy God’s moral laws there will be a negative result. If you refuse to profess Jesus as Lord, His Father will turn his favor away. There is always the continuous offer of grace and forgiveness from God through faith in Jesus, for any and all sin. But unrepentant sin always bears a consequence; arrogance never earns a reward; and it always suffers punishment.
To live arrogantly is to actually live usurping the place of God in your life. It is to put yourself outside His authority and declare no need of Him, when actually it is by and in Him you live, and move, and have your being. It is not without reason that God declares in Proverbs that arrogance in the heart is an abomination to Him; and it will never go unpunished.
Humility, and by virtue its opposite, arrogance, is succinctly described in Philippians 2 where Paul defines the character of Jesus. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 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.”
Paul then goes on to point out what living humbly will mean, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” This is humility, the clothing of Christ’s character put on as the clothing of your own character; that is, you are to live humbly by following his living example; He didn’t grumble and He didn’t question. The opposite of such humility is, of course, arrogance; it is an attitude and behavior where you make yourself equal to or above God, in that you act as you choose with no thought you are usurping who and what He is to all creatures. What is more, you then grumble and question when things do not go as you want or expect. It is no wonder that such arrogance on our part is an abomination to God. Eventually we bring upon ourselves the punishment of what unbridled pride produces in us.
You have a choice which can only be made in the strength which Christ affords you; live humbly as He would have you live, or choose to live arrogantly, which God abhors. He doesn’t mince words. It is a continuous battle. Sin provokes arrogance and it is a default mode when you let it rule. Humility can be your character only when you prayerfully consider beforehand how you will specifically act in the circumstances of your life. Those circumstances will always bring a reaction from you; it is what the test of your faith is intent on accomplishing. But rather let the mind of Christ rule in your heart and behavior. That mind is always…….humility!
“Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway! Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see, Christ only, always, living in me!”
(4th verse of Adelaide Pollard’s hymn, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”, 1902)
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