“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” ~ Proverbs 11:2
Uncle Bud Robinson said, “Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.” And Paul W. Powell said, “Pride is so subtle that if we aren’t careful, we’ll be proud of our humility. When this happens, our goodness becomes badness. Our virtues become vices. We can easily become like the Sunday School teacher who, having told the story of the Pharisee and the publican, said, ‘Children, let’s bow our heads and thank God we are not like the Pharisee!’”
No one knew better of the dangers of pride than Solomon himself. He desired something better and greater for his son than for his son to grow up to be an arrogant fool. Solomon understood that in the pursuit of success in life, the pursuit of wisdom plays a vital role.
The Bible commands us to pray and ask God for wisdom. Wisdom is something that we must seek, desire, fight for, and attain. We are not born wise, wisdom is a learned skill. We are made wise by our parents, education, experiences, and more. A man with a teachable spirit is more likely to become wise than a man who thinks he knows everything. A wise man has a humble heart.
According to Solomon, an arrogant and prideful man is but a fool. Therefore, he commands his son to be teachable, humble, and meek.
What does it look like to be wise? What does it look like to be humble and teachable? According to Solomon, a wise man seeks counsel.
Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” And Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors, they succeed.”
Humble, teachable men are willing to seek counsel from God and the wise people he has placed in our lives. We don’t just give God or people lip service, but rather we really seek their wisdom and apply it. We must recognize that we are not infallible and that we need the wisdom and guidance of others.
A wise man also embraces constructive criticism, correction, rebuke, or discipline and learns from it. Acknowledge your limitations, embrace feedback and constructive criticism, and value the perspectives of those around us. Humility allows us to learn from our mistakes, seek counsel from mentors, and grow in character and understanding.
Do you remember getting disciplined by a parent or teacher when you were a kid? Did it feel good? Were you happy about it? Of course not. At the time, it felt terrible, maybe even that they were against you. But years later, you recognize the value in their discipline. Taking it even further, you realize that their correction was a sign of their love for you. They were looking out for you.
The truth is, even though we are now adults, we still need to be corrected from time to time. God corrects us. People correct us. If your initial reaction is to always be resistant or defensive to anyone’s correction, you have a tell-tale sign that this may be an area of your life that needs to come under authority. You might have some authority issues that you might have to work through.
The central message of this Proverb is clear: pride leads to disgrace, but humility leads to wisdom. It reminds us that true wisdom is not rooted in self-promotion or arrogance but is birthed from a place of humility and self-awareness. The contrast between pride and humility is stark, and it is in embracing humility that we open ourselves to the transformative power of true wisdom.
The practical application of this Proverb in our daily lives begins by examining the areas where pride may be subtly influencing our thoughts and actions. It could be in our professional lives, where we may feel the need to assert our dominance and outshine others. It could be in our relationships, where pride can hinder our ability to truly listen, empathize, and collaborate with others. Or it could even manifest in our spiritual journey, where self-righteousness may blind us to our need for God’s grace and guidance.
As men, we face unique challenges in our lives and relationships. The pressure to be strong, independent, and self-sufficient can often hinder our ability to embrace humility. However, it is precisely through humility that we find the strength to admit our weaknesses, seek help when needed, and foster deeper connections with others. Humility enables us to listen actively, respect differing opinions, and lead with grace and wisdom.
After reading this devotional, I encourage you to reflect on Proverbs 11:2 and consider the role of humility in your life. Seek to identify areas where pride may be hindering your growth and relationships, and replace that pride with humility.
Questions for Thought
- Name 1-3 people in your life that you seek for guidance. What makes them so special to you? In turn, are you investing in others the way they have invested in you?
- Can you honestly say you do or you do not have authority issues? Is discipline or correction something really difficult for you to give or accept? How can you address it?
God, I pray that you would humble me today. Uproot any pride in my heart. Show me where I can grow in humility, and give me the ability to do so. Provide godly, wise counsel in my life. Thank you that your Son humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross like Paul wrote in Philippians 2, and thank you that you raised Him from the dead. Help me view myself rightly in relation to your glory and sovereignty. Amen.
Kevin is the Missions Minister and Single Adults Minister at First Baptist Dallas and helps lead the Band-Led Service. Kevin’s parents were church planters overseas, and from an early age, he saw the life-changing impact that the Church has worldwide. He believes that the Church can help people discover and use their unique gifts to impact eternity. Outside of work, Kevin loves hanging out with family & friends at the movies, games, or concerts. He is also an amateur guitar player. He and his wife, Kim, have three great kids.