There are some things that just don’t go together no matter how hard you try.
Oil and vinegar. Argyle and plaid. Dwight and Jim.
And there are some things that should go together and still often don’t.
Engines once disassembled. The government and careful spending. Church planters and humility.
Now before you stop reading and try to convince yourself that you actually are humble, instead, let’s just all agree that none of us really are humble. And let’s just confess together that church planters are actually some of the least humble people we know.
It has been suggested by some that that it just “comes with the territory.” It takes a lot of initiative (some call this insanity) to start something from nothing, see it survive, thrive and then reproduce itself. While this may be true, we should never use this as an excuse to justify what the Bible calls sin. In fact, the Bible has quite a lot to say about pride and it’s destructive capabilities. Here are just a few verses:
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. —Proverbs 16:5
Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. —Proverbs 18:12
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” —James 4:6
Strong words and warnings, aren’t they? And in light of the fact that church planting has enough inherent difficulties without adding “God opposing us” to the list. But when seek to lift up our own name or the name of our church instead of the name of Jesus, that is just what we are in danger of. And, in His kindness, God may pull the rug out from under us to get us back on our knees.
But what if this didn’t have to be the case?
What if we sought to live our lives in such a way that it wouldn’t have the failure of our health, our plant, or our marriage to get our attention?
Here are some tips that can help us move in the right direction.
1. Take the Bible seriously.
As these verses show, humility is not a special command for a select few super Christians, but for all of us. Meditating on the Scriptures listed above and studying those in the Bible whose pride took them down in the Scriptures will go a long way in rightly helping us to address this sin. In addition, considering the damage our pride does to our churches, our families, ourselves and our intimacy with God can also help.
2. Look to and lean on Jesus.
Though the humility of Jesus is seen throughout the Scriptures, it is no more clearly on display than in Philippians 2. In this passage, we can marvel at the example of Jesus and exalt Jesus for what He has done in the Cross. As we do these things, it will cultivate our dependence upon Him and encourage us to deal with our pride in a Gospel way.
3. Enlist others in our struggle against pride.
Due to the nature of the beast, pride is not something we should fight alone. In my struggle, my wife and my elders are my greatest allies in the battle. They see me lead, watch my interactions with others and hear the overflow of my heart in daily life. Do you have similar people in your life?
Pride can do great damage to us, our families and our churches. But by God’s grace and the help of some trusted friends, we can learn to humble ourselves so that God doesn’t have to and save ourselves and our churches a lot of heartache.