Pride or Humility?
In James 4 we read a contrast between pride and humility. You can probably guess which of these two words is near to the heart of God and which one is not. God desires that we demonstrate humility and not pride. In the first paragraph James points out that wars and fights originate in our desire to have things that we do not have….out of pride. I think that pretty much sums up why most wars and fights occur. Instead of humbly accepting what we have, we use violence to obtain what we want; but what we want is often not what God desires that we have. Then James points out how humility helps to keep oneself pure from the things of this world. When we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord He will lift us up. Many people have fallen into life-altering sin because of a prideful “desire to acquire”. If you are in this trap, turn around now! Then James talks about how pride can lead to a wrongful judgment passed on someone else. Judgment of motive or action based out of pride is almost always guaranteed to be wrong.
Finally, James speaks to our prideful attitude about time and agenda. This is one of the most powerful sections, in my opinion. Here is what James writes: 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James says that the attitude in verse 13 comes out of pride. We somehow believe that we are the captain of our world, that we determine what will happen next and that is such a foolish perspective. Our prideful approach to the length and importance of our own lives is shown to be foolish…our life is but a vapor which appears for a little time and vanishes away. This isn’t intended to say that our life is not important. It is intended to show us that apart from the activity and purpose of God, it is not lasting and important. But if we humbly place our plans and agendas under the will of God we will experience true purpose and meaning and even though our life is short, it can have an eternal impact. So, which will you choose, pride or humility?