Advent Devotional – December 10

Humility vs. Pride – Luke 1:48-53

48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

Consider: What situations in life most trigger sinful pride in you?

Learn:

Read John 3:25-30: Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Humility runs throughout this passage and through each person in this passage.  Mary humbly declared herself a slave of God in response to the angel; Elizabeth humbly received Mary, even though she was in many ways a superior to Mary; Mary humbly exalted God in her song.
Why then does humility seem to be so difficult for us?  To a great extent it has to do with how we view ourselves in the light of who God is.  I highly recommend C. J. Mahaney’s book, Humility: True Greatness,  as a help in the fight against pride.  He defines humility as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”
Mahaney shares a story from an interview that Don Carson had with the great and humble theologian, Carl Henry.  Carson asked Henry how he remained humble for so long.  Henry said, “How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?”

Apply: Think about the cross, that Jesus had to suffer the humiliation of this world and die because of your sin.  Allow God to work on your pride in your areas of struggle.

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