SATURDAY 1.28.23 Proverbs 16:18-19, Ephesians 4:6-10, James 3:13-18
18 Pride comes before disaster,
and arrogance before a fall.
19 Better to be humble with the needy
than to divide plunder with the proud.
4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
7 God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8 That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people [Psalm 68:18].
9 What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10 The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.
13 Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom. 14 However, if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, then stop bragging and living in ways that deny the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. Instead, it is from the earth, natural and demonic. 16 Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and everything that is evil. 17 What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. 18 Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.
In the sixth century, St. Gregory the Great (later Pope Gregory I), who first named the seven deadly sins in the form we’re familiar with, called pride “the ruler of the other seven vices.” Seven centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas similarly called “pride” the overarching ruler of the seven sins. * When James described humility as missing, we find many of the deadly behaviors we’ve studied earlier this week cropping up. Conversely, translators have often rendered the Greek word behind “humble lifestyle” (prautes) as “meekness.” It is “is the opposite of arrogance. It is often understood as self-effacement or submissiveness and is therefore considered by many as a weakness rather than a virtue. In Jesus’ teaching, however, it is a desirable quality…. this sort of ‘humility’ can come only from true wisdom—the wisdom from God!” ** When used humbly, with a deep desire to live out God’s wisdom, technology can become a genuine instrument for good and productive living.
- Do you agree with the sages of Proverbs—would living humbly with the needy be better than “living high” with the proud? Why or why not? The apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, called all Christ-followers together “one body and one spirit.” But pride inevitably puts us above others, better than others. It is natural for us to tend to believe what we’re involved in is the “most important,” and that the tools and methods we use are “the best.” That’s why God’s wisdom points us toward the power of humility, of valuing one another and not just ourselves. How can God-given wisdom and love turn “win/lose” conflicts toward the promise of “win/win” outcomes? What must happen in us so that we see stronger relationships as a bigger “win” than always getting our way? How can you act with confidence (in a church ministry, your work, your family, or just your own life) out of humility rather than pride?
Lord Jesus, you’ve called me to join with others in carrying out your mission in the world. I commit myself to use the gifts you’ve given me in humble harmony with other members of your body for your purposes. Amen.
* From article by Becky Little at https://www.history.com/news/seven-deadly-sins-origins.
** I-Jin Loh and Howard A. Hatton, A Handbook on the Letter from James. New York: United Bible Societies, 1997, p. 122.
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Blake Thomas serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection's West location. Blake is an Olathe, KS, native, and has also lived in Chicago serving in different ministry capacities. He earned a double B.A. in Youth Ministry and Bible & Theology from North Park University, and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. During his time in Chicago he served as a camp program director, youth pastor, and hospital chaplain. He loves getting to journey alongside students at COR!