Saturday, September 01, 2007

What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior!

Last Sunday's sermon at Providence Church was on Luke 17:7-10.
7"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? 8Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink'? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" (ESV)

In the sermon I dealt at great length with the issue of pride, because I think that's our primary obstacle to realizing our full potential as unworthy servants doing our duty.

In the sermon I shared some good quotations along the way. For example ...
"In place of true humility we learn certain words or phrases that we believe make us sound humble: ‘Oh, really, it was nothing’ or ‘Anyone could have done it.’ We cast our eyes down and shrug our shoulders or maybe even blush. Of course, we don’t really mean it—inside we’re congratulating ourselves for how humble we look and feel. We want that reputation but don’t know how to get to the reality. Like children playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes, we’re only acting humble; none of it really fits us."
-Joshua Harris
"Being critical and/judgmental of others is not a spiritual gift, but a mark of pride. Dealing graciously with others is a sign of diminished pride, especially those who offend you."
-Gunny Hartman
"And if I’m arrogant, I need to remember God doesn’t sympathize with me in that arrogance; He is opposed to the proud."
-C. J. Maheny
"We even get offended when people act as if they see us better than we see ourselves."
-Paul David Tripp
"... boasting and self-pity as two forms of pride. Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, 'I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much.' Self-pity says, 'I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much.' Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing. The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless but as heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride."
-John Piper
"Obedience doesn't mean you want to; it just means you do."
-Gunny Hartman
"Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size."
-John Stott

I also gave some characteristics of a godly servant:
This week Joe Thorn shared some offspring of pride from a Richard Mayo sermon, adding his own musings to each of the progeny. He notes that pride gives birth to:
  1. Covetousness - because you believe you deserve something more than others.
  2. Ungodly ambition - because you believe that you are most qualified, and the idea of someone else being preferred over you is an insult to your perceived worth.
  3. Boasting - because everyone should know who you are and what you have accomplished.
  4. Contention - because in picking fights you feel a sense of superiority over those who may (or may not) be in error.
  5. Unthankfulness - because you deserve everything you get!
  6. Selfishness - because others do not!
  7. Self-deceit - because it’s easier to believe you are something, when in fact you are nothing.
  8. A judgmental attitude - because you believe the errors of others are much more serious than your own.
  9. Gossip - because you look so much better when telling others how awful someone else is. Mayo said that the proud “endeavor to build their own praise upon the ruins of others’ reputation.”
  10. Complaining - because God should have consulted you before orchestrating the events of your day/life.
  11. Hypocrisy - because you must hide the truth, your own failures, in order to avoid shame and accumulate praise.

And yesterday I came across 5 Symptoms Of A Proud Heart:
  1. You get defensive at the first sign of criticism or correction. Proverbs 13:1 says, "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." A humble man eagerly receives rebuke, correction, and criticism. I on the other hand, am quick to be defensive. What about you? When you receive correction from others at work, or at church, or in the family, how do you respond?

  2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. Proverbs 18:2 says, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." I'm often not interested in others or what others have to say, but only in voicing my own opinion. The humble person on the other hand, is slow to speak and eager to hear the input and wisdom of others. When you're with other people, are you quick to voice your own opinion, or are you eager to hear the opinions of others?

  3. You're convinced that you're always right. Proverbs 12:15 says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." I'm very proud, which in turn causes me to be certain that I'm right in all situations, at all times. The humble person is keenly aware of their blind spots, and aware that they could be wrong. When a debate arises, are you convinced that your way is the right way?

  4. You're quick to criticize and slow to encourage. I'm aware of people's deficiencies and unaware of God's grace at work in people's lives. The result? Much criticism and little encouragement. The humble person however can identify with Paul when he said, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." (1 Tim 1:15) Are you more aware of people's faults or the grace of God at work in their life?

  5. You become overwhelmed when life gets chaotic. When life gets chaotic and I'm loaded down with responsibilities, I can be easily overwhelmed. Why? Because I'm self-sufficient. In my pride, I rely on my own strength to carry out my plans. However, when things get chaotic, I get anxious. The humble person depends on God to carry out and execute plans, and thus experiences God's peace.

Most of us really don't want to be humble or strive for humility. Instead, we only want to appear humble and be thought of as humble by others.

Our pride gets in the way of our service to God and/or others, because such activity is unworthy of us. If we do serve, our pride resents the experience if we're not given sufficient praise. Plus, those people are deemed unworthy of our service, so we automatically treat others as inferior.
"At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."
-John Stott

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At 01 September, 2007 08:52, Blogger Lance said...

Nice humiliating post (in a healthy way).

Tough stuff, Gunny. Makes one think.

I had heard it once said that humility is not the act of tearing yourself down but of raising others up; i.e., it's not about talking about how low we are but about being content with elevating others above us.

This is a huge struggle against the flesh, isn't it?

I would rather show off my humility by self-deprecation, than simply deny myself and consider others more significant than myself (especially when they don't recognize that I'm doing that!).

At 01 September, 2007 09:47, Blogger Stephen Altrogge said...


Thanks for including my post in your article! I'm honored...


At 01 September, 2007 12:37, Blogger GUNNY said...

Stephen, that post of yours was good and very timely for me, though if you could have posted it a week earlier I could have used it in my sermon! Keep up the good work at The Blazing Center. Check out today's post that lists CJ Mahaney's ways to combat pride.

Scrawny, I know you've been in these issues lately as well, since you recently preaching Philippians 2.

Yeah, it's much easier for us to resort to self-deprecation, especially to boost our ego. For example, ever throw out a "Oh, thta was terrible. I really stunk it up with that sermon."

What is the hope? That somebody will say, "No, it was good. Let me repair your wounded, fragile ego. Really, you did good."

At 04 September, 2007 11:14, Blogger samurai said...


well done... and thanks. #5 really caught my attention. That is so me... to my shame.

I thank God for men like you and CJ Mahaney...

now to become a doer... and not just a hearer...

At 04 September, 2007 21:18, Anonymous jade said...

So Gunny, is there a recording to this sermon you mentioned?

At 05 September, 2007 20:00, Blogger GUNNY said...

There is, Jade.

If you hit the "Sermons" page on the Providence Church website, there's a list of recent AM & PM action.

Or you could click here for the sermons page.

I don't quite understand all the ins and outs of podcasting, but apparently one can sign up for the podcasts of either the AM or the PM (or both).

As it is on the page, one could listen online or download for later activity.

If you do get a listen, I'd be appreciative of any feedback.

I'm actually in the process of manuscripting one of the prior sermons (Luke 14:25-33; 8/5) because I think it was better on paper than was delivered, but you'll see that one as a blog post before too long, Deo volente.

At 06 September, 2007 10:09, Blogger Timothy said...

Very well done. Were you proud of it? Sorry, couldn't resist. You are right about our pride. I was reading the symptoms and it really struck close to home. Especially the part about always being right. Convicting.

At 06 September, 2007 10:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought all of your sermons were better on paper than they were delivered.


-pastoral intern of your choice

At 06 September, 2007 12:27, Blogger GUNNY said...

"Very well done. Were you proud of it?"

I'm a prett harsh critic, so I only gave it a 109, A+. Usually, I give 110%, but this lacked a bit of effort and polish.


Well, it seems to me that the only ones who can write on humility are the ones who don't have it! How can one say, "I've got my humility and let ME show YOU how to be humble ... like me"?

Poor Moses, having to write Numbers 12:3! Of course, what does that tell you about the rest of Israel? Moses could write that about himself, expressing the sentiment of God, and AFTERWARD still be the most humble man on the planet?

That's a fair amount of wiggle room.


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