“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.”
Pride is an ugly sin. It’s a close relative to arrogance, selfishness, condescension, and narcissism. It doesn’t matter who you are, pride doesn’t look good on anyone. In fact, this proverb goes so far as to say that the direct result of pride is disgrace. On the other hand, the result of humility is wisdom.
Many of you may know the story of Icarus. It’s an ancient Greek myth about a man who makes wings for himself and his son out of feathers and wax. The man tells his son, Icarus, not to fly too high lest his wings melt and he fall to his death. As they begin to fly, Icarus gets too confident in his abilities. He thinks he can go higher, and he doesn’t listen to his father’s warning. His wings melt and he falls.
It’s a classic tale of arrogance. He refuses to listen to the wisdom of his father. He thinks that he knows better. He gains confidence in himself that he didn’t earn. He didn’t build the wings. He didn’t understand their limits. He simply began to fly, took the credit for himself, believed himself to be the master, and ended up failing. The same thing happens to us with pride. When we see good things in our lives and take credit for them, giving no gratitude to God for his provision, we start to become prideful. When we fail to give God credit, when we fail to maintain a posture of thankfulness, we give ourselves credit where we don’t deserve it. In the end, we are thankful only to ourselves, we rely only on ourselves, and then comes the fall.
Humility, on the other hand, can be seen in the words of Icarus’ father. He built the wings and accomplished an incredible feat by giving himself and his son the ability to fly. However, he understood the limitations. He knew the best way to use his invention, and he knew where it fell short. He was not consumed with pride for his invention or his defiance of the laws of physics, but he was humble to the fact that his work had its limits. In that humility came wisdom. That wisdom led him to the proper use of his wings and to his safe landing.
The story, while just a fable, is a good example for us to see the effects of both pride and humility. God is the creator and provider of all things. Too often we take the things he’s given us and claim the credit for them, we believe that our goodness or intelligence or prowess has created them and earned them for us. We forget what the source of all good things is.
Take care, lest you forget. Do not be consumed by pride or vanity. Remember who is the true source of every good thing, and maintain a posture of humility and gratitude. Wisdom goes much farther than pride.
Help me not to be prideful. Humble me and remind me of your total power over this world, my life, and everything I have. Help me always to remain grateful and humble and reliant on your saving grace.
In Jesus’ Name,