"The person who is greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." – Matthew 23:11-12
I?m currently busy devouring a book by C.S. Lewis called “The Screwtape Letters?, it’s basically a fictional novel about two demons, an older demon writing letters to his nephew, instructing him on how to get his “patient? (i.e. a human) to sin, etc. One letter on the subject of humility was of particular interest to me and I’d like to share it with you guys.
Let’s start by looking at how we usually think ” I’ll use my own vanity as an example. As a muso in a band, it’s not very difficult to find yourself in situations where you start feeling that “Oh yeah, I rocked tonight? sensation creeping up inside. You know it’s wrong, so you start fighting that thing, pushing it down, giving glory to God, talking to fans just to appear humble, etc. This is all good, but then, before you know it, you begin to focus on just how incredibly humble you are, and that you are so much more humble than those “others? with whom you shared the line-up. And before you know it, you have pride in your humility! AARGH!!!
I hope at least one person can identify with this, maybe I?m just weird?
When I look at the “patient?, I see so much of myself that it’s actually kinda scary. As Christians we know it’s is wrong to be filled with pride, and we try to stop the feeling. But that’s where we make the mistake, pride and humility is a choice, not a feeling. You will never “feel? that you want to be humble, it’s human nature to become proud, but so is the drive to have sex before marriage, but both is still sin. So how do we fight the pride? Let’s look at a common mistake first:
Let’s say I write this killer riff. I know it rocks. I know people with mosh their faces off. But I?m a Christian, so I’ll have to be humble, hmmm? so then I try and convince myself that the riff is not THAT good and that I?m not really such a good guitarist anyway. In the end I don’t feel very humble, only frustrated, disgusted with my effort and finally discouraged.
In this case true humility is not being dissatisfied with the works of your hands, but the ability to be equally happy if someone else wrote that riff; not being jealous. If someone achieves something really big and you can rejoice with him as if you achieved it yourself, you are on your way. So if you did something amazing, don’t beat yourself up, be happy, but don’t place it above another guys effort.
Pride is something I personally struggle with every now and again. I get so ticked off when I look back at some of the times in my past. I think humility comes from understanding. If I?m proud of the fact that I can run faster than my friend in the wheelchair, then I?m really being silly, right? So I think when we begin to realize that it is God who gives us our talents and some other wasn’t blessed (the keyword here…) with the same talents, we will realize how stupid pride really is. As if we had a hand in the creation of our talents.
One last thought: If pride is your motivation for accomplishing something, you can be sure of certain failure. At a time I was into music partly to be recognized as a good guitarist (OK.. to be popular), then suddenly you strike 24 (years old) and everyone around you start having kids, getting decent jobs, you know, usual stuff. Suddenly people aren’t impressed by the fact that you play in a band anymore and you kinda re-evaluate your motives, because being in a band is hard work. I thank God that He worked in me all this time; I?m more motivated than ever to make music, but to make music for Him, music that saves souls. So if there’s any younger guys/gals out there with a passion for making music that glorifies God, keep your motivation continually in check.