Jesus said that the greatest human being in the history of the world was His cousin, John the Baptizer. He says in Luke 7:28, “Among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” Part of what made John so great was his earnest pursuit of genuine humility, which we see in John 3:25–30. When some of John the Baptizer’s ministry leaders are acting in a proud way, he lovingly teaches them about humility and reveals three mindsets that the pursuit of humility produces:
- Contentment Not Entitlement
A proud person has a sense of entitlement – that they are owed something. This shows up with people who steal, demand, or feel hurt when they did not get something that they thought they should have. In pursuing humility, John says, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” Once you realize that all you deserve is hell, the more grateful you become for everything you have and see it as a gift from God.
- Joy Not Jealousy
A proud person lives with jealousy. When others succeed, achieve, or receive, they are unable to celebrate and rejoice because they wrongly covet and wish they were getting it instead. The pursuit of humility allows us to be happy for others without being concerned for ourselves by constantly comparing and ranking. With people leaving his ministry to join Jesus’ ministry, John says, “That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” John was happier to see Jesus succeed than he was for his own success.
- Decreasing Not Increasing
Ours is a cutthroat world of ladder climbing, back stabbing, and conquering. It seems like everyone is trying to tear you down so that they can step on your corpse as they climb the mountain of success. John was just the opposite. He said something that you can go your entire life without hearing anyone else say, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
How does pride manifest itself in your life and relationships?