There was a show I watched growing up called, "Reading Rainbow." The show was about the love of reading and learning. The show's host, Levar Burton, had a phrase he would say at the close of each episode. After describing how amazing books are, how amazing the specific book was that was shared in the episode, and how much fun learning can be, he would say, "But don't take my word for it!" It was a call to examine for yourself, to try out the books, to dive into learning, and to not just stop at Levar's words, but keep asking questions of others to see if these things were so.
As I thought through last week's sermon on the greatest enemy of our soul, pride, and looking ahead to
Sunday's sermon on practically pursuing humility, I thought it might be helpful to hear from other men and not just "take my word for it." So I am going to call on some of my dear friends, most of them long dead and with Jesus, some still alive, though entering into the twilight years of their ministry. These men are wiser, godlier, and more humble than I think I'll ever be. So, as we think about pride and humility, don't just take my word for it when I say that pride is our soul's greatest enemy or when I speak of how we are to practically pursue humility. Listen to these men, read their words carefully, and let their insights pour over your soul to comfort, to convict, to confront, and to conform you into the image of Jesus. And ultimately, don't just take their words for it either! Our authority is God's Word. So, "examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so." (Acts
17:11) In so much as their words conform to Scripture, receive them with joy and heed their counsel as they instruct our hearts regarding pride and humility.
Augustine - "For those who would learn God's ways, humility is the first thing, humility is the second, and humility is the third."
A.W. Pink - "Grace is the favor of God to those who not only have no positives deservings of their own, but also who are thoroughly ill-deserving and hell-deserving."
Charles Bridges - "Pride lifts up the heart against God. It contends for supremacy with Him. How unseemly moreover is this sin a creature so utterly dependant, so fearfully guilty, yet proud in heart. A proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, a proud person attempts to rob God of the glory only He is worthy to receive. Pride has many forms, but only one end: self-glorification."
Charles Spurgeon - "If we think we can do anything ourselves, all we will get from God is the opportunity to try."
Charles Spurgeon - "Do you find yourself to be an anxious man? I tell you friend, you are found out to be prideful man."
C.S. Lewis - "Pride is spiritual cancer; it eats the very possibility of love, or even common sense."
D.A. Carson - "How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?"
D. Edmund Heibert - "All that creates anxiety for us, whether momentous or trivial, is a matter of concern to Him!"
D.L. Moody - "God sends no one away except those who are full of themselves."
John Calvin - "There is no man who does no cherish within him some idea of his own excellence."
John Piper - "Humility is the self-forgetful gift that receives all things as a gift. Humility is beyond our reach. If it were a product of reaching, we would instinctively be proud of reaching it. It is a gift of God alone."
John Stott - "In fact, at every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."
John Stott - "Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, 'I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.' Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size."
John Stott - "Far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteouness, and we can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit."
Jonathan Edwards - "Pride is the worst viper in the heart. It is the first sin that ever entered the universe. It lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin. It is the most secret, deceitful and unsearchable in its ways of working of any lusts whatsoever. It is ready to mix with everything. And nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence and there is no one sin that does so much to let the Devil into the hearts of the saints and expose them to his delusions."
Martin Lloyd-Jones - "I am told to esteem others better than myself. There is only one thing that can make me do that. There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust and that is to look at the Son of God and especially to contemplate the cross. When I see that I am a sinner and that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I am humbled to the dust and I say that no one can be worse than I am. I am the chief of sinners and anyone must be better than I am. Nothing but the cross of Christ can give us that spirit of humility."
Martin Luther - "It is God's nature to make something out of nothing. That is why He cannot make anything out of him who is not yet nothing."
Thomas Schreiner - "Smooth relations in the church can be preserved if the entire congregation adorns itself with humility. When believers recognize that they are creatures and sinners, they are less apt to be offended by others. Humility is the oil that allows relationships in the church to run smoothly and lovingly. Pride gets upset when another does not follow our own suggestions."
Thomas Schreiner - "Humility also manifests itself in handing over our worries to God, and hence it follows that worry is a form of pride. Worry constitutes pride since it denies the care of a sovereign God. The antidote to worry is believing in and resting in God's care for believers."
Thomas Watson - "The proud man is the mark which God shoots at. And He never misses the mark.'"
Wayne Mack - "Proud people demand answers, as Job did. Proud people refuse to trust in God's sovereignty unless they can make sense of it themselves. Proud people do not want to admit that there are many things that only God can answer."