Pride, Humility and the Grace of God - Sunday 11th June
How can you be bold in standing up for what's right, without doing so out of pride, or without becoming proud?
This Sunday, in our Morning Service we'll be looking at Esther 5-6: Pride, Humility, and the Gospel of God.
You can read sermon summary notes below.
In our Evening Service we will be continuing our series in the Letter to the Romans, Chapter 13: Look Up
Pride, Humility and the Gospel of God
The Power of Humility
When Esther stands before the king it is a very tense moment. Her life is in the balance - but so is that of all the Jewish people. So why is she there?
The reason is that she has decided to identify with God and his people. She realises she is in a position of privilege because God has put her there, for this moment. She is willing to face death for herself, so that others might win life. That is true humility.
True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. As Esther puts the safety of her people before her own she is taking the path of humility.
As she does it she puts on her royal robes. In fact, she puts on ‘royalty’. It is as she claims her identity as a child of God, that she begins to truly live up to her identity as Queen.
And Esther is not the one planning, and organising to save her people.
The problem for us is that we can decide to stand up and speak out, and be counted for what is right, for wrong reasons, for reasons of human pride. That was Haman’s problem.
The Peril of Pride
Haman boasts about what he has. Whilst Esther is now looking out for others, Haman is only interested in his own progress.
This self-obsession is very 21st century: me at the centre.
The problem is, as with Mordecai, such pride makes for a very fragile ego.
Human pride also robs you of joy - because if you get your sense of worth from what you have, and it is taken from you, your inner happiness disappears.
But human pride doesn’t just destroy you, it will make you try and destroy others - as Haman does with Mordecai. If you want to be number one, you can’t tolerate anyone else wanting the same.
Pride comes before a fall, and Haman falls. He thinks the king wants to reward him, and Haman wants a share in royalty, so when the king tells him to do all this to Mordecai, his world collapses.
So what can give us the courage to stand up for what is right, and make us bold, whilst making us humble, and not proud?
Perceiving the Hand of God
The king can’t sleep, and the page concerning Mordecai is turned to, on the night Haman wants to murder him. This is the unseen hand of God.
But the king’s sleepless night is also the pivot point in the middle of eight feasts that mirror each other in this book. So the king’s sleepless night is the event that begins to turn the tables in the favour of the Jews. This is God’s doing.
When you know that it is God at work in your life, it humbles you, and it makes you bold. Esther and Mordecai don’t save themselves. God is the hero of the story.
The gospel tells us the same. Jesus dying on the cross for us, and being raised again has the power to both humble us and make us bold. When you know life is all about Jesus, you can stop promoting yourself. When you know your identity is rooted in him, your ego won’t be fragile.
Because of Jesus, you can be bold to act and speak up, but you can do it with a deep humility.
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