The Fighting Flesh: Humility’s Enemy

Humility has an enemy, and no, it’s not our culture. It’s not our relationships. It’s not our careers. While these things may hinder humility, the true enemy of humility is our flesh.

Everything within us fights humility. I think this is what Paul meant when he wrote: I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do– this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19

The Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Yes, the disciples had good intentions to stay awake in the garden and pray for Jesus, but when Jesus came back and found them sleeping, what else could he say? They were willing, but they were weak.

That sums up our pursuit of humility. The renewed self and the flesh play tug-of-war. We hunger for humility. We know the path to joy and shalom is paved with humility, but oh, the weakness of our flesh. Every time we lay down our rights, the flesh whispers that we are losing out. The flesh pulls at us to go after whatever makes us look or feel good. How true the words of Solomon, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). The way of the flesh leads to death.

The way of righteousness is sacrifice. You can’t shed blood proudly. It’s a way of emptiness, a way of otherness. Sacrifice is humility’s choice.

Service is the blessing of humility. Through service, we are allowed to give of ourselves to others, to enter into the great Sacrifice with our meager offerings of servanthood.

The way that is wide, the way that many take, is the way of self-aggrandizement. The way that is narrow is the path of humility.

Let us choose the narrow road today.

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