Two groups of athletes have shown their colors on the world’s greatest stage, the Olympics. One group routinely portrays itself as arrogant and prideful. We continue to be subjected to excessive celebrations and boastful arrogance in pre- and post-competition interviews and antics. Quite frankly, I find it repulsive. I’d love nothing more than to cheer some of these great athletes to victory, but I can’t bring myself to it. I can marvel at their awesome ability, but I wince in pain when I witness their antics on the TV screen.
That’s because I like the kind of athlete who puts up and shuts up. They have a quiet, humble strength that exudes confidence. They are true hustlers, and their performance speaks for their mouth. They celebrate, but they don’t show-boat.
But, you see, the former group of athletes merely represents a large (and ever-growing) crowd of arrogant, proud individuals. Sadly, however, the latter group is among a small (and ever-wanting) group of truly humble human beings.
But can we be honest about something for a moment? Most of us fit into that first group, don’t we? We want nothing more than to trumpet ourselves. We look for every opportunity to let others know about us. We want to call glory to who we are or what we’ve accomplished. I’m right there with you. In fact, I’d even suggest our society actually endorses this kind of behavior.
Don’t believe me? When was the last time you interviewed for a job and were asked, “So, why do you think we should hire the other person interviewing for this same position?” Rather, the question ALWAYS seems to be, “Tell us why we should hire YOU.” “Why are YOU the best?” “Why should we choose YOU?” “Tell us all about YOU.”
The Bible repeatedly proclaims, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The word I find most striking in that statement is “opposes”. It means to “stand against” another. All of us have faced some pretty formidable opponents at one time or another. I’ve squared off on the ball field against faster, stronger athletes than me; I’ve arrested meaner, bigger men than me. They’ve proven tough, and their opposition great. But their opposition pales in comparison to the opposition of a God repulsed by our pride.
Yet, we continue to stand boastfully proud. Our wealth, our abilities, our possessions, our status all seem to be points of interest to brag about ourselves. We want others to see US, but our pride is a problem: it’s ugly, self-promoting, and self-glorifying. And God hates it so much He stands in direct opposition to it.
Lucifer is the pinnacle example of God’s opposition to pride. Yet, amidst the ugliness of pride stands the beauty of humility, with its greatest exemplar being Jesus Christ. We wish we had His brand of humility, but when we examine ourselves honestly we see quite a different image.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, you need Jesus today. You still need the Cross; you still need God. We must guard ourselves against creeping pride. Receive God’s grace and know that He who saved you is faithful to complete that good work in you which He began.
My friend, if you are not a believer, you need Jesus. You need the Cross. You need God. As it is, you stand in direct opposition to God. Will you continue to do that? Or will you bow your heart and receive the grace of God?