Have you ever felt angst bursting from your insides, begging to defend your “dignity” that was just “attacked” by another? I can’t even count the times my wife had come to me saying something along the lines, “I think it might be better to do this, love…”, my reaction: Indignant. “I dare her to think my idea was not good enough…” my pride falsely clothed in “dignity”. Looking back to such moments, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry about such childish behavior. Many times this strong emotion coming from our gut can be confused with righteous anger, but most likely is just pride manifested by defensiveness. The impulse to vindicate our “dignity”.
In simple words: Pride is thinking that I can do it on my own strength. It is hard to acknowledge our pride (self-righteousness), especially when we are confronted by others. I mean, when was the last time we responded to criticism in a similar fashion: “you are right, I need the Lord to free me from my pride, from my fear of not being good enough/loved”. Well, I believe we all have been there, even if we have not acted out of that self-defensiveness and “indignation”, we have at least thought about it.
Humility, on the other hand, is being “poor in Spirit” realizing that we have nothing, that we have no power to change ourselves, that we cannot fulfill that void in our souls because disappointment is inevitable given our imperfection (sin). In other words, being poor in spirit is realizing our need of Him. Just as the physically poor realizes her/his need of food, and will need such food to avoid death and have life; so the spiritually poor will realize her/his need of God to avoid death and have everlasting life. Only when we realize our need for the saving/healing power of Christ (evidenced in the resurrection), and that we cannot reach Christ’s humility in our strength (evidenced in the cross), is when we finally have true surrender. It is in that surrender (open-handedness) that the Holy Spirit comes and transforms our lives in whatever way He wishes to do so.
It is then because Jesus has surrendered his “dignity” at the cross, that we already have been given dignity as children of God. It is because Jesus was resurrected in power by the Holy Spirit, that we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide and control our lives through Him. Why then are we fighting for? Why are we trying to defend ourselves? Hasn’t the Father given us undeserved “dignity” by sending His son to die for us so that we may be called His children? Hasn’t Jesus given up His “dignity” by His sacrificial/unconditional love for us on that cross so that we may die in Him to our selfishness/self-reliance/idolatry and be resurrected in Him to new life? Hasn’t the Holy Spirit come to empower us to walk in Christ-likeness, and remind us of the “dignity” we already have? Why then are we fighting for a “dignity” we already have in the Gospel?
Let us come in humility, accepting that we CAN’T DO IT ON OUR OWN! Why waste our time trying to vindicate/save/defend ourselves? Pride only takes away the opportunity for God to act on our behalf, true humility, on the other hand, gives us the open-handedness for God to act His will in our lives. No wonder why Jesus said:
“Everyone who exalts him/herself will be humbled but s/he who humbles him/herself will be exalted”Luke 18:14
Lord give us the humility of Christ through the empowerment of your Holy Spirit, so that you may come and transform us! Give us your humility! So that we may move in the disposition of Christ in every circumstance pride is triggered in our lives, so that we may move through your humility regardless of any emotion we might feel.