Humility: Secret to the Good Life

Series: This is My Father's World: Ethics for Daily Living from the Minor Prophets
May 1, 2022
Obadiah 1:1-9
George Robertson

Big Idea:

Pride is at the root of all sin, and God says that of all the sins, pride is that which He hates the most. If pride is the most evil of all sins, then we must know its sources and solution.

  1. Sources of Pride

Someone has said, “The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty.” The opposite of faith is setting your heart and mind on any thing other than God. The reason pride is so offensive to God is that it looks at all of His good gifts, rejects Him as their source, and sets them up as objects of worship.  

A. Strength: Strength, in this context, means trusting in your material and physical resources. That is, what do you trust in to keep you strong? 

B. Friends: If you put your trust and confidence in friends, you will inevitably feel betrayed, and when you are, it will be a test as to whether your eyes are on Christ or not. If you are trusting Him rather than anything else—including people—when betrayal comes, it will not undo you. How do you know you are trusting your friends more than God? One indicator is a tendency to cut friends off when they let you down. 

C. Knowledge: God says that if we do not first recognize that wisdom—God’s explanation of all facts—then all the rest of our thinking will be futile.  

  1. Solution to Pride

God provides a simple but profound treatment for our pride. He transforms our pride by bringing us down to the point that we are graciously forced to humbly trust in Him. We then become more useful vessels for His service. Soon after Solomon finished the temple, God made this promise to His people in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

A. Pray: The first step to humility is to get the Cross of Christ squarely before you and realize that your sin explains its blood and gore.  Those desperate gasps by the Savior come from the weight of your sin. When you can no longer see yourself except through that cross, and  when you can no longer view another Christian who has offended you or an unbeliever whose habits repulse you except through the eyes of the Cross, then you are growing in humility. The first step in growing in this humility is humbling yourself to ask God to do this work in you, acknowledging that you cannot will it yourself.

B. Seek God’s Face: To seek God’s face demands that we first condemn our own sin before judging anyone else's.   

C. Repent: The realization of God’s favor is what ultimately results in a heart made humble by the Cross, a heart made humble by realizing God’s mercy, and a heart made humble to serve the Kingdom.  

Discussion Questions

  1. Sources of Pride: 

    1. What most often causes you worry, anxiety, or keeps you up at night? 

    2. Which of the three sources of pride exposed in this passage – strength, friends, knowledge – can you identify with most? 

      1. To help answer that question for yourself, consider how you typically respond to the thing(s) that cause you worry. For example: Do you resolve to do better, try harder, work more, learn more, sleep less, etc.? Or do you consider the connections with people you have who can help you? Do you rack your brain for a possible solution or new way of solving your worry? 

    3. Lastly, how have you seen these solutions fail you or others in the past?
  1. Solution to Pride: 

    1. How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provide the solution for the manifestation of pride – strength, friends, knowledge – that you identified?

    2. Prayer is hard work, which must constantly be pursued. Take advantage of prayer meetings, attach your prayers to everyday events like sitting at a stop light or waiting on an elevator, or put an app on your phone to remind you to pray 10 minutes during each of the traditional “hours” of the day. What is one practical way you can commit yourself to prayer?

    3. Spend time in prayer now, thanking God for His mercy in saving you and asking Him to work humility in your heart.

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