The Bible reveals that humility and pride open various doors for us. Humility is a doorway to being raised up by God. Pride is a doorway to destruction.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about pride and humility.
“When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honour.” Proverbs 29:23
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.” Matthew 23:12
Pride is a doorway to trouble. If you entertain pride you invite pride to escort you through a door into a world of problems: disgrace, destruction, a fall, being brought low and being humbled.
At the same time Humility is a doorway to the opposite things. Note in the verses quoted that humility leads to wisdom and honour.
Look at what else is promised to the humble.
“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand and he will exalt you in due time” 1Peter 5:6
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10
“He who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
Humility is a doorway to being exalted by God. Not necessarily immediately, since, as Peter put it, you will be exalted ‘in due time’ – when the time is right. But Humility is a doorway to elevation by God nonetheless.
Imagine someone coming to you who has aspirations of being highly regarded, successful and respected as an achiever. They ask you for advice. Worldly advice would focus on working hard, pleasing people, getting good at some skill or other, maintaining good character, avoiding the wrong company and so on. All that is fine.
But Jesus said that if we humble ourselves we will be exalted.
So, imagine advising that enquirer that the best thing they can do is to bring themselves low, maybe as a servant to others. The lower they can go the higher they can be elevated.
Would they appreciate that? Would you give that advice?
If humility is a door to being elevated then why not make that our advice.
Note the Jesus is a fine example of someone doing exactly that; humbling Himself and then being highly exalted.
“Have the same mind as Christ. He was equal to God – being part of God – yet He HUMBLED Himself like a servant and died on the Cross. So God HIGHLY EXALTED Him, giving Him a name above all names.” Philippians 2:5-9 (paraphrased)
The humbling of Christ is hard for us to imagine. The God of all eternity becoming one of the created beings and then being despised and killed by those beings. It is mind-boggling.
The prophet Isaiah gives us insight into the challenges Jesus faced in humbling Himself to the point of death.
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint. I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:6,7
Jesus had to ‘tough it out’, so to speak, to get through the ordeal of cruel treatment and death. He humbled Himself to a terribly low place of servitude, allowing Himself to be humiliated and then killed, in order to serve us with eternal life as God’s children.
What Jesus received in return was that He was given a name above every name and every knee must bow to the name of Jesus.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name, that at Jesus’ name every knee must bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Jesus proved the principle of humility. Jesus proved that humility is a doorway to being exalted. It’s not a pleasant door to go through, but it is very powerful.
A joking comment popular about fifty years ago went like this: “I have no talent, no brains, no skills, no education and no experience, but I’m willing to start at the TOP!”
Sadly that is the attitude of many today who want instant success and to occupy the best places, even when they don’t deserve it. Another adage says, “Fake it until you make it”. The idea is to get promoted and then learn the job once you have it.
That’s not Christ’s way. The way to true promotion and elevation is to get it from God, not from vanity and human foolery. God’s way is the doorway of humility.
He who would be great must be the servant of all.
“And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35
“Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
Many people will miss the doorway to true greatness. They will want a short-cut or an easy promotion, having others make the way for them. Those who will be exalted by God are those who learned to humble themselves and serve others – those who went through the Doorway of Humility.