A friend was telling me about a recent hunting trip. He had sighted a buck that then disappeared into the thickets. After several days of hunting and not seeing much, the buck was a great sight to behold, and he really wanted to take it home. He prayed that if the Lord would cause the buck to come back out into the open, then he would be able to make the shot and take care of the rest.
As a good Father, the Lord answered his prayer. The buck came out into the open, and my friend proceeded to take the shot. Missed. Another shot. Missed. And another miss, then another. Fifth shot, missed.
The buck stayed in the open meadow for five missed shots! I’m not sure if the exclamation point is because the buck stayed around or because the friend missed five times. He isn’t a first time hunter. He’s been hunting his entire life, so to miss the shot is not a normal occurrence. To miss five is just out of the realm of realistic.
As my humbled friend was retelling the tale, we were able to laugh about it. The imagery of an angel messing with his sights or tipping the bullet just slightly as the buck danced in the meadow seemed rather funny.
I’ve got this
Part of the laughter was because I could relate to the story. While I’ve never been hunting, there have been plenty of times that I’ve asked the Lord to set me up and let me take care of the rest. And, much like my friend’s hunting experience, I’ve missed what should have been easy.
“Lord, if you will just get me the job, I know I can perform it.”
“I’ve got this part Lord.”
It could be something that I’ve done a gazillion times, but the moment pride takes over and I say that I don’t need His help . . . Well, you know the rest of the statement.
Scripture talks a lot about pride. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). Pride is even listed by Jesus along with other things that defile a person (see Mark 7:21-23).
Pride can come in many forms. Sometimes it is obvious, other times, less so. There could be a demand for respect, or a story about a great achievement. It may appear in bold statements, or just be an attitude in our heart. Pride could even be in the statement of how humble we have become. Regardless of how pride shows up, it is a dangerous thing.
My pride has created so many problems over the years for me and for others around me. My apologies to all of you that have witnessed my pride. Even deeper apologies to you that have been hurt by things I’ve said or done in pride.
The opposite of pride is humility. What does it mean to be humble?
I’ve heard humility described as requiring weakness. I don’t think that is accurate. Jesus was exceedingly humble, yet I don’t believe He was at all weak. In fact, I see great strength in humility.
While not a dictionary definition, I think humility is simply acknowledging my complete dependence upon the Lord, and allowing others to be more than me.
Far too often, I’m like my friend. “Lord, if you will do this much, I’ll be able to take care of the rest because You have given me the skill.” The Lord has given me talents and abilities, but I still have to rely on Him to use them well. It requires humility to depend on Him and not ourselves.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)
Our title or place in society doesn’t dictate our position of pride or humility. Even if I was a king or president, I would still be under the authority of God, and therefore, not in a position of ultimate power. I’ve demanded respect because of position, and it didn’t work out like I thought it should. The position may be respected, even when the person filling it is not.
Pride demands; humility serves. Pride boasts in my accomplishments; humility gives the glory to God.
Walking it out
As we journey in faith, we are likely to have times where pride tries to get in. As the Lord does amazing things through us, we need to be sure to give Him all the glory. When the little things go right, or the mundane happens, thank the Lord and honor Him.
I don’t know if angels tip bullets or adjust sights, but the Lord does seem to have ways to show us our pride and bring humility. It is so much better if we will just walk in humility so that we don’t need the “special moments” to bring us there.
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