In order to kickstart this week’s theme Andy B gives some real-life examples of inexperienced people thinking they know better than those with experience, reminding us of the downsides of being proud.
He provides reasons for why humility is such a good thing to reach for, and why pride and arrogance are not such good things to reach for.
He talks about truck drivers, fact-checkers, diesel engines, and more…
So picture the scene. I'm driving a truck, and I'm chatting to this guy who's my drivers mate for the day. And he's telling me a story about his time in the Army. And one of the drills they did was putting on the NBC suit, the Nuclear, Biological, Chemical suit. And there's this whole body suit. it's got a respirator and all sorts of things. And they have to learn how to put it on, how to eat how to drink. The other element, being a little bit delicate, is they have to learn how to go to the toilet. And one of those things is easier than the other. And so they were taught how to go for a pooh, basically in the suit.
Now, this guy was in this class. He was one of the recruits who has being taught how to do this. And one of the other people on the course said, 'Excuse me, I think I've got a better idea. I think we can do this better.'
And the instructor said, 'You think you can do it better? Go for it, we'd like to learn. We don't know everything.' Anyway, let's just suffice to say the instructor knew that there wasn't a better way. Let's just say that this individual who thought he knew better, didn't and had quite a mess for quite a long time to clear up.
Sometimes we need to listen to those who know more than us. And that, I think, was, was quite a telling image. You can imagine me in the truck hearing a story, being rather amused at the way that this guy described the situation. But we're living in a world aren't we where we know better than those that are older than us.
I remember at one point, I was doing something and there was a really young person in the room who said 'I know better than you you need to do this'. And I said, 'Well, no, I don't think so.' 'Well, I've done this, and this, and this, so I know you're wrong'. It's like, 'well that's great, you've done it a few times. I've been doing it for 20 years. And no we're not going to do that'. And they got in quite a strop, quite honestly, and left.
We like to think we know more than those who know more than us!. Do you remember the statues being toppled? Wokism is a phrase now. Cancel culture? John Skillet has an opinion so they're losing fans because we don't like your opinion. This is utterly stupid, and ridiculous. And this is the very definition of arrogance, and pride. That we feel in some way that we know better than you. But worse than that, we know better than you so much, we're going to eradicate your viewpoint.
Fact checkers. Oh my goodness, fact checkers! Ukraine is at war with Russia was record as we were filming this. Fact checkers on the BBC! Fact checkers on BBC 'well here's an unverified image of something or other. Do you know what? You're not there! Shut up! We don't care! Just provide the news! We'll make our own assessments. We're not stupid! It's the epitome, it's a perfect example, of arrogance and pride. And today we're looking about God opposing the proud.
When those statues are being toppled yes, there's some history there. But, when you delete history, and eradicate history, it isn't good. I heard a tale one time, also, of the changeover from coal fired steam trains, through to diesels, diesel locomotives. And it was a wintry day, and the old drivers had been rubbished are ruined by the new drivers. 'Oh, your ridiculous old fashioned steam engines. These diesels are so much better'.
But they had a bit of an issue because, for some reason, they were trying to move these diesel locomotives, and they would not move. The wheels were just spinning and they couldn't work out why. One of the older drivers, ridiculed, mocked as being ridiculous, irrelevant, redundant, cancelled, walked into into a into a storage shed, got this funny looking box thing, mounted it onto the side of the diesel locomotive pulled the lever and some sand fell out onto the wheels. The diesel locomotive started moving forwards. 'How did you know how to do that?'. 'Well, we learned. It's just icy!'.
It's very easy, isn't it, to get arrogant and, and think that our way is better, because it's more modern, or we've got a better technology, or better morals. And, actually, better technology isn't always good. Those diesel locomotives, as good as they might have been, couldn't move on icy rails, where the steam locos could. Because they'd found a solution to a really common problem. And in the same way with some of our advanced and progressive morals, they're much better now? Well, not necessarily. Just because we can advance some't and make it improved, doesn't actually make it better.
Let me just read you this out from James, gentle James. Gotta like James! James chapter 4 and this is verses 1 through 12.
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you. You desire and do not have, so you murder you covet, and cannot obtain. So you fight and Quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God"?
Being at war.
"Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the scripture says, He yearns jealously over the Spirit that He has made to dwell in us. But He gives more grace. Therefore it says God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee. Draw near to God. He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you."
We're not doing this today, but this just jumped out at me "cleanse you minds, you sinners and purify your hearts. You double minded". If you're double minded, wow. I mean that's, that's quite strong, isn't it? "Cleanse you hand, cleanse your hands you double minded. Purify your hearts."
Pride and arrogance are not good! They're not healthy. They're not beneficial. God opposes the proudr. If you think celebrating pride is good, you're wrong. Why? Because the Bible says so. God will oppose you. It's there. It's black and white. So if you think yes, being pride, prideful and proud is really good. No, it's not. And how can I say that really easily in a different way? Well, if you've got two people in front of you, one is full of pride and arrogance, and one is humble and kind, who are you going to want to spend time with it's not the proud and arrogant one.
As we think about Russia, and Ukraine, I can't not touch on this subject. We can't read those words from James 4 and not think about the big bully of Russia, attacking an innocent country, Ukraine who've done nothing. No provocation. Why? Well, there's all sort of geopolitical ideas about gas pipelines and, and geopolitical stuff. And it's just a big bully of Russia. Ultimately. Sadly, that bully's got big weapons and he's killing people indiscriminately. But it's just a bully, acting arrogantly, and with pride, about who they are, and what they can achieve. God opposes the proud. Don't ever celebrate being proud. It's not a good thing. And, if you don't like that, tough, that's the Scripture.
How do we stay humble? Well, Scripture's quite good. Let's just jump to 1Peter chapter 4, and I've lost the reference, which is really skillful. What was the reference boys? 5, 5. Thank you.
"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. "
There's a real sickness in the world that, if you're young, you think you know better than than those that are older, that are older than you. But, how does Scripture counter that particular problem? Well, two fold as ever. It's not just 'young people respect the old people'. Actually it also counters it with 'old people, you need to be there for the young people'. It's really easy, and the enemy wants the young, and the old, to fight against each other, rather than realising, young people you've got lots to learn from the old. Old people, you've got lots to learn from the young. Everybody wants to live in peace and harmony and love and all that kind of stuff. And that's great. But it starts with respecting the people that we're spending our time with.
In the street Bible, which is, I love it, it's not a translation, but it's really helps us understand certain things. This is Proverbs 18, verse 12.
"Before they fell flat on their face, they were strutting along, quite cool. But those who know their place, get promotion."
It's really easy for us, as people, to be very arrogant about how well we've done, how much we've accomplished. Let me rear that in a real Bible.
"Before destruction, a man's heart is haughty. But humility comes before honour".
That's the English Standard Version. But the point is this. If you want to find peace and get through life. If you wanna do well in life, in God's eyes, then you need to stay away from pride, and move to humility. And how do you live in humility? How do we do that? How do we stay away? Well, you don't stay away by not going near it. You stay away from being proud, and arrogant, by doing something instead of that. And what's that instead of? Really simply, being humble. Being kind, Fruit of the Spirit. It's one fruit with 9 parts to it. It's not fruit of the Spirit. It's the Fruit, The Fruit of the Spirit. All those 9 parts that said simultaneously work out of us, as we grow with God. It is a blessing from God that the Fruit of the Spirit comes out of us, as he walk with Jesus Christ. So if you don't want to be full of pride. If you don't want God to oppose you, and you don't want pride and arrogance, then you need to concentrate on being humble. And how do you do that? Listen to people who've been there.
One of the most important things that I have found in my own life, when I'm with people who are older than me, I'm not talking twice my age, I'm saying a few years older, perhaps, maybe 10 years, 20 years older, is to listen to their story. Because there's a lot of wisdom and richness in people who have walked longer on this earth than we have.
I'm 44 and I have a lot of respect for people that are older than me. I also have a lot of respect for people who are much younger than me. But old people have to win my respect, and young people have to win my respect. That's important, because we don't trust people we don't like. But, thankfully, the Bible doesn't call us to like each other. It calls us to love one another. And that means it doesn't matter how much we like people, we still have to love them.
God opposes the proud. The humble, therefore, he will not oppose. So, if you're struggling with pride, get rid of it.
Maybe it's in your exercise. Maybe you think I've reached this peak of fitness. I can run a full marathon now, and I can do in this time. That's great. Nothing wrong with that, whatsoever. It's good to have goals. And it's good to be really happy with what you've achieved. But, as we do in Endurance, this episode of Endurance, the whole season, the whole purpose of it, it's as much as spiritual exercise is good. It's so much better than physical exercise can ever be. So as much as you might have a really amazing fitness level, it's nothing to the spiritual exercise, and to being spiritually fit.
How do we get spiritually fit? Read the word. Pray to God. Spend time with the Holy Spirit.
God opposes the proud. Just touching on the Ukraine Russia situation once more. No one quite knows what to do because, ultimately, you know, if this happens we could have World War Three. And if that happens this could. There's all these theories. The reality is, at the most simplest, and basic of levels and I'm in no, no way speaking down on this situation. But, at the simplest level, Russia is behaving like a bully. They just have a very big stick. Sadly, that big stick, is killing people indiscriminately. But the rest of the world what are we gonna do? Do we stand with Ukraine? Do we stand with the Russia? Do we, do we back down, because we don't want war? Sometimes you have to stand for what's right. We see that throughout scripture. But, ultimately, Russia, it's full of pride. That's why they're attacking Ukraine. Not the Russians. There's lots of Russians who do not want war. Huge protests that you probably won't see, that are happening in Russia today, now, against the war against Ukraine.
God opposes the proud, gives grace to the humble. Let's be humble people. Not full of pride, not celebrating pride, but celebrating humility, celebrating the fact that God loves us. That we can't do this. That we don't know everything. That we need God to help us through.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for your word. I thank you for scripture that helps us to learn better how to be Christians, how to be disciples. Lord, as we think in Endurance, help us to know how to enjoy in our faith, as people who are humble, pursuing humility. And show us where pride is in our life that we need to eradicate, that you don't oppose us. These are strong words, but they're true words, and it's in your word. Father God, help us to be a people who are humble, who are not filled with pride, but are filled with with mercy, compassion, all the Fruit of the Spirit. Amen.
Written by Andy B