God likes humility and submission. That sounds authoritative, but it’s a characteristic we must to pursue if we intend to honor God at all.
Think of it this way: if you were a manager at work, and you had one person that listened to what you said and actually did it, and another that regularly told you he’s doing things his way, which person would you favor? Simple logic points to the former, but the great majority of humans are the latter with their approach to God. I mean, ask anyone to give up their favorite vice, and you’re going to get some defiance.
It’s not like God has an authority complex. People are made in His image, so we’re going to have attributes resembling God, but the fact that He MADE us should give it away that we should do a better job letting Him have control over things.
A fine example of people getting irritated with someone being more important than themselves is kind of a cliche in church now because every preacher likes to bag on the Pharisees. They did have a serious problem with Jesus, but we aren’t so different.
In the latter half of Luke 7, it says that Jesus had a quick meal with them, and a lady shows up and does a somewhat bizarre act — then or today — to show her devotion to the Lord (v. 37-38). The Pharisees get all fussy about this “sinner” touching a teacher’s feet like that, so Jesus goes even further and proclaims that her sins are forgiven.
This would be no different than a person without a degree showing up in a college classroom and teaching (accurately, no less), but then saying he’s not only the professor over all professors, but begins giving A’s to the worst students in the class. The professor would clearly be upset, but who do you think would be even more put off? Yep.
Jesus has a hard time with people that are self-important because we’re created in the image of God, which means every person is important. That sounds relatively humanistic. However, God wants us to understand His grace and love. That requires us to recognize His deity. Not our own. If we get too big on ourselves, He does something about it.
Genesis 11 contains the proverbial, and again, controversial story of the tower of Babel. Most of us already know how it went down: the people are pretty excited because there’s a lot of humans around, and they’re going to build a beautiful tower to demonstrate how awesome they’re becoming.
God doesn’t have a problem with the structure itself, but the fact that they’re trying to make a name for themselves gets Him fired up. Didn’t He just get done flooding the earth? Rather than using another force of nature to knock their heads off, He makes them speak different languages. It’s comical, but then again, it’s not. You can contrive your own parallel example of this to get an idea of how annoying this would be.
Psalm 7:5-6: “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight/You hate all workers of iniquity/You shall destroy those who speak falsehood/The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
Do you like arrogant people? Liars? Killers? Neither does God.
God desires righteousness and humility from us, not because He’s trying to be a jerk, but because it makes sense. So, get over yourself.
And if you think you’re doing a good job with this, just take an inventory of what you’ve said and thought about today — if anything sounds remotely selfish, you’ve already blown it. No, don’t justify it.
But the Psalm I just mentioned ends nicely: “For you, O LORD, will bless the righteous/With favor you will surround him as with a shield.” (v. 12). Not bad, eh? Do the right thing, and He’ll not only bless you, but protect you. Sounds like a good deal to me.