“One’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
Humility. The surprise of God’s wisdom is that it outfoxes our own intuitive formulas for success. Pride feels smart, but is foolish (Prov. 26:12). Inevitably, pride goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). This is so because in selfishness and impatience our pride overreaches. Pride even hastens judgment, because it scorns the saving Word of God (Prov. 13:13). By contrast, “he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Prov. 29:23). The lowly might be highly talented people, but they are teachable before the Lord (Prov. 15:31–33).
This theme of humility-before-honor opens up the heart of the gospel. Jesus himself walked this path—first the cross, then the crown—and now he is giving us the privilege of following him there (1 Pet. 1:10–11; 4:12–13). Sometimes, when we are bearing the cross of humility, it can be heavy. That is when we can remember that the glorious crown of honor is coming to us just as surely as it came to Jesus himself.
One of the practical ways we can walk in humility together is to confess our sins to one another: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Prov. 28:13; cf. James 5:16). Rather than save face, we can humbly own up to our sins, because God has justified us by his grace as a gift (Rom. 3:24). The curse of the law’s condemnation fell not on us but on Christ at the cross (Gal. 3:13). We are now free to be honest with God, and with one another, about our real problems. When we walk humbly together in this gospel light, we experience renewed fellowship and fresh cleansing (1 John 1:7). Truly, we will “obtain mercy.”
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.