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August 9, 2020
Be Sure to Choose the Right Coat
Christians who boldly stand up against injustice must be sure they are properly dressed. Their success in opposing wrongdoing will be limited if they are not “clothed” with humility.
New Testament writers Peter and Paul both counsel Christ followers to “clothe themselves” with humility because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Paul, in his Letter to the Colossians, speaks of Christian virtues as though each was a garment to be worn, a coat perhaps. He urges his friends to “put on”kindness, humility, meekness, and “above all, put on love.”
Humility, then, is a choice but not the only choice. Arrogance is another coat on the rack, but one which the Bible counsels us not to put on. In fact, Jesus repeatedly warns against pride. In one parable Jesus describes the striking difference between a tax collector and an arrogant Pharisee. When the Pharisee prayed, he thanked God for his superiority over evildoers. The tax collector prayed humbly, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Jesus explains the lesson of the parable with these words: “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” The message is clear: God rewards the humble but humiliates the proud.
That warning teaches us that humility is a lovely coat while arrogance is an ugly and dangerous garment to wear. To know the grave danger of pride we have but to read a few of Solomon’s Proverbs:
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (11:2).
“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (13:10).
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18).
“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor” (29:23).
It is no accident that when Peter urges us to humble ourselves before God that he speaks immediately about our enemy, the devil. Satan does indeed prowl around us “like a roaring lion,” and one way he “devours” us is by tempting us to think we are superior to others. White supremacy is but one example of how Satan has deceived some of us into ignoring Paul’s sage advice: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”
Though some scripture may seem ambiguous to us, what Paul says to the Romans is quite clear: “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Why such a strong warning from the Bible against pride? Because arrogance is self-destructive as well as ugly. It will destroy you; it separates you from people – and from God. Wear a pompous coat and you will soon lose the respect of the people you thought were your friends. People will not want to be around you because a haughty spirit is repulsive.
If we are to successfully resist and defeat the devil, we must constantly refuse to throw the ugly cloak of arrogance around our shoulders. When we pick out the clothes to wear each day, we must always reach for the garment of humility and put it on. It is the dress code God has chosen for His children.
Remember that every day as you relate to others, sharing your opinions and doing what you do. This truth you can take to the bank: nobody, absolutely no one, will be glad to see you if you are wearing the obnoxious coat of arrogance. If you are wearing one now, take it off and stuff it in the burning barrel. Don’t take it to the Salvation Army; all the folks there have better sense than to wear it. Some of them are eating soup there because they did not take the Bible’s warning seriously.
Speaking of taking the Bible seriously, consider the current plight of our nation in light of what God said one day to King SolomonIf my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Think through what God said. He did not expect or ask Solomon to heal the land. The healing of the land depended upon what God’s people did. If, God says, if my people will humble themselves and repent of their wicked ways, then God would heal their land. This means that the solution is not in the hands of the President, or the Congress, or the Governors; it is in our hands. We, the people, must humble ourselves, repent and pray. To seek God’s face means that we admit that nothing matters more than pleasing God!
It all begins with humility. The arrogant must become humble – and then pray. If, dear reader, you are one of God’s people, then please humble yourself and pray. Pray for forgiveness for our wicked ways – and you know what they are. Then humbly trust God for the healing that America needs.