The humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13)

C. S. LEWIS OBSERVED about human pride, “[It] gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” Lewis made the point that our pride is constantly in competition. “We are not proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking,” said Lewis, “but only of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others.” We could add that pride also requires this competition to be made public. We want others to see our superiority.

James points out the demonic roots of pride and identifies two danger signs, envy and selfish ambition, in order to help us recognize it in our own lives. James then shows us the destructive results: disorder and every evil practice. Human pride harms relationships and destroys communities.

In contrast, James extols the wisdom of humility. It is heavenly, having the marks of purity, consideration, submission, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity. Wisdom tells us that God does not want us competing with others for superiority. The outworking of humility is the good life, resulting in peace and righteousness. This is the soil where strong relationships and thriving communities grow.

As our culture tempts us to make much of our lives and activities public, the wisdom of humility helps us to see some of the potential pitfalls of this trend. Wisdom also shows us how to keep our eye on what’s truly important to God.

Ask God to help root out pride in your heart today.

Bill Beck loves spending time in the outdoors hiking, camping, and enjoying God’s creation. He and his wife, Lisa, live in South Dakota.