In the Roman Forum, there is a Main Street lined with arches. Each arch represents a triumph by the Romans over their enemies. After victory, the leaders would return to Rome for their triumphant parade and celebration. People would line the streets and praise the Caesar and the Generals for their success.
The praises was extravagant. They were dressed as Gods and honored with tremendous riches.
Walking this street myself yesterday, I imagined these parades. I looked at each arch, knowing it meant at least 5,000 of their enemies had been killed to earn the arch. On these massive stone monuments were etched the images of the leaders riding in their horse drawn carriages, lavished with treasures and praise.
On the chariot, riding with the triumphant leader through Rome, was a servant. This servant’s only job was to continually whisper into the ear of the leader.
What was he to whisper? Did he whisper, “This is all for you. Soak it in Caesar. Receive this earned praise.” Well, that’s what I would have thought, but it was actually quite the opposite.
The servant’s whispers served as a very important reminder in the face of success … “Remember you are mortal.”
With success comes pride, and as Proverbs 16:18 warns, “Pride goes before a fall.” The Roman leaders knew all this praise and all this success could be dangerous. They could easily become prideful, and that pride would destroy them.
So as the music played, as the treasures were displayed, as the crowd cheered, as the newest arch marking their triumph was celebrated, the servant continually whispered, “remember, you are mortal.”
Pride is what caused the most beautiful angel to fall. Pride is what causes us to make a real mess of our lives too.
Pride is what pushes God away and puts our own selves in his place.
Pride that says, “I can do this on my own.”
Pride that says, “I want this my way.”
Pride that says “I know what’s best.”
Pride that says “I’m entitled to this.”
And sometimes pride doesn’t say it, but it sure does act like it. We act like we’re entitled to all of this when we fail to be grateful for all of this. We act like we can do it on our own when we fail to first seek God for our next step. We act like we want our way when we refuse to accept a closed door with grace, and instead stand outside beating our heads in frustration.
Remember, you are mortal. You are not God. You do not know what he knows. You do not see all he sees. You have not yet been where God has been. STAY HUMBLE GIRL!
1 Peter 5: 5-6 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
When we are prideful, pushing God away and putting ourselves in his place, God will no doubt resist us. Another translation says he will oppose us.
Honey, God does not want to be against you. He wants to be FOR you even more than you want to be for you. But he can’t be for you if your pride is in the way. When you fail to be humble, failing to recognize his divine evolvement in your life that is crucial to your every breath, he cannot be for you. He simply can’t be.
Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us.” This is where impossible things happen. This is the land of breakthroughs and everlasting victories. This is where God wants us … but where pride comes in, we will be kept out. God cannot be for you when pride is present. He will resist you. He will oppose you.
Does this mean you can’t be proud of the progress you are making as you work hard? Does this mean you can’t recognize your own growth and forward movement? Not at all. Don’t let the enemy confuse you.
Feelings of accomplishment are natural and healthy when we do well. God designed our bodies to feel good when we do good. That natural shot of dopamine when we’re living in alignment with the good plans God created us for is to keep us seeking that goodness. You should feel proud of yourself for getting better!
Sinful pride is the Caesar riding in a chariot, receiving praise for victories, and allowing himself to become elevated to God status. Sinful pride is us thinking we got this job, we bought this house, we created this family, hot dang we made this all happen on our own.
It wasn’t all you, Sis. This wasn’t all because you did you, Boo. This is because you have a all-powerful God who is personally involved in the details of your life, aligning you to the purposes for which you were created.
Never forget that.
While God resists the proud, he gives grace to the humble. And what does his grace give us? Well it gives us EVERYTHING!
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
It is God’s grace that gives us every single thing we need to affectively do every single thing we need to do. This is where your strength comes from. This is where your guidance comes from. It’s all God’s grace. And God’s grace is his response to our humility.
Humility is to see ourselves as we actually are. Remember the servant whispering in the Ceasar’s ear, “remember you are mortal”? Yes, he is saying stay humble here. You are NOT God. You didn’t do this on your own. This isn’t all about you.
God’s power may have flowed through you. God may have used you as a vessel for his works. But it was not your power. It was not your works. THIS WAS GOD IN YOU. GOD WITH YOU. GOD FOR YOU. GOD AHEAD OF YOU. GOD ALL OVER YOU.
Pride closes the door of spiritual growth, humility swings the door off it’s hinges and puts you in direct alignment to become everything God imagined you to be.
Will we always get it right? No. But thank God for his grace.
Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Your job is to believe God is everything he says he is, and everything you have, can do, and ever will do is because of who he is and who he is making you.
The Roman Empire eventually fell. Why? Pride.
The most beautiful angel eventually fell. Why? Pride.
Don’t let this be your story.
May we all stop everything at this very moment and humble ourselves to our God who so richly and freely gives us grace! May any pride in our lives be revealed to us so we can banish it immediately.