All Articles

The Right Attitude for the Right Altitude

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16.18

Last year in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies had an excellent season. They had a great playoff battle with the eventual champions. It was all sort of unexpected. But it appears it caused several of the players to be prideful coming into this year. As a result, they have had several on-court altercations and off-court distractions. In one season, they have transformed from a popular, up and coming team to the league’s most hated team. Fans dislike them and other teams are playing extra physical with them. They are having a difficult time enjoying as much success this season.

Humility is a difficult thing. In some of the smallest things, we can become prideful. But humility is essential. Why is that? Jesus, the Son of God, was humble and provided the ultimate example that we should strive to imitate. Recently a friend of mine sent me this quote:

“Maintaining the right attitude keeps me at the proper altitude.”

How do I accomplish that? There are a couple of questions we should consider to examine ourselves.

How do I view myself in relation to God? Do I view myself as the greatest thing God created? In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable of a Pharisee praying to God. The Pharisee thanks God for not being like other people and goes on to list several things he has and has not done. A lot of the prayer is all me, me, me! Look at me! He almost seems to indicate what a privilege it was for God to have made such a great creature. Is that how we view ourselves? We should see ourselves like the tax collector does as he prays: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18.13). Certainly, we must be humble and see ourselves in need of God, not the other way around.

How do I view myself in relation to others? Do I view myself as more important than others? Do I view myself as more essential to the kingdom? In Luke 18, the Pharisee sees himself as superior to the tax collector. He prays, “I thank You that I am not like other people, even like this tax collector” (Luke 18.11). Certainly, we should not view others as inferior to us. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, expresses the same idea. He says to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2.3). He points out Jesus as the ultimate example. Jesus loved others so much that He “emptied Himself” to be a “bond-servant” and “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross” (Philippians 2.5-8). We must imitate Christ by humbling ourselves.

Proverbs 16.18 reveals “pride goes before destruction.” Pride has caused the fall of so many. We cannot fall into its clutches. We must have humility, or we are in danger. Maintain the right attitude to be at the right altitude. Submit and be obedient to God! View others as more important than yourself! Imitate Christ!