Christ’s call to us is to live in a way that evidences a similar service and thereby demarcates us as those whose citizenship is in heaven, not the world (Matt 20.25–28″>Matthew 20:25–28). In this way, Christ redeems our service. What a joy it is to serve my spouse, my child or those around me and reflect to them, even if only in part, something of the character of God.
Removing the Chains of Pride
How does one move from the chains of prideful self-obsession to the freedom of humble self-service?
There are three perspectives that I often ask my counselees to check within themselves. Think of these as three facets (though there are many more) of the jewel of genuine Christian humility:
- Whose sin are you focused upon?
- What is the focus of your joy, security and contentment?
- Who is the focus of your service?
When we find ourselves in bondage to our pride, the answers to the above qustions are typically: others’ (sin), the world (joy) and myself (service).
Whose sin is most odious to me in those moments? Whose sin needs to be brought into the light, repented of and ultimately mortified? Not mine, but everyone else’s.
Where do I find my comfort, my joy, my peace, my security? Not in the glory of the gospel, but in some event, thing or person. If only I made more money, had more power, had a spouse, kids, house, dog, you name it. Anything but the joy of suffering for the gospel.
Who should be served in all of this? Me. The world, my relationships and God himself exists to serve me.
But Scripture answers these questions quite differently:
- Whose sins should I be focused on? Mine. (Romans 8:13)
- Who is the focus of my joy, security and contentment? Christ. (1 Peter 1:8–9)
- Who should be the focus of my service? Others, and especially fellow Christians. (Philippians 2:3–4)
While the presenting problems vary widely, the problem, which all too often muddles counseling from the very outset, is pride—and the answer is Holy-Spirit-enabled, Jesus-centered humility.