### Speaking to the Soul – September 6

God opposes the proud

The Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. James 4:6-7

We are right to think of God as being incredibly loving, forgiving and generous. But we must not lose sight of the fact that he is also a God who hates. The writer of Proverbs makes a list of the seven things that he detests: “proud eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family” (Proverbs 6:17-19). It’s significant that, at the top of the list, is pride. A proud person has no room for God.

There are three main problems with a proud person. Firstly, they don’t understand their need. They are so confident of themselves and their own ability that they think they don’t need anything. The tragedy of that attitude is that it is absurdly wrong and makes it impossible for God, or anyone else, to help them. Secondly, the proud person loves their independence. They are thrilled that they don’t need to depend on anyone at all. They think they are self-sufficient, but that simply isn’t the case. We are all deeply dependent on other people and have a profound need for God. Thirdly, the proud person is totally unable to see their sin. They are so self-confident in their ability and successes that they are unwilling to admit any failings. God would love to forgive them, but they are affronted by the thought that they need it.

Pride is a terrible disease. We shouldn’t be surprised that God hates it so passionately. God longs to see humility – because the humble person recognises exactly who they are. They know they are in need. They recognise that they are dependent on others and on God. And they own up to the fact that they are sinners. Such a person throws open the doors to God’s blessing, and the result is that they are overwhelmed by God’s grace.

Humility is the key to finding God’s blessing.

In whose life have you seen true humility, and what have you learnt from them?

Lord God, forgive me for those moments in my life when I have been tempted to be proud. Teach me what it means to be humble in every aspect of my life. Amen