In Luke 14 we are privileged to observe and listen to Jesus as He deals with pertinent heart issues. Jesus, God in a human body, has the ability and the authority to read hearts, something that we humans have no right or ability to do. Though we cannot read hearts and motives, we have the ability to sense needs and opportunities to share the Gospel with the lost and to encourage believers along the way.
Jesus had been invited by a Pharisee to his home for dinner along with some other guests. Earlier at the table, He had dealt with the issue of the Sabbath Day in the first six verses. Now He deals with pride and humility in verses 7-11.
Would you note that Jesus always dealt with heart issues, rather than conduct issues? If the heart is right, the conduct will be right. That’s why Proverbs 6:23 warns us to guard our heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.”
That’s why a godly father’s concern is not so much simply for blind obedience from his children as it is for their heart. In Proverbs 23:26 the godly father pleads with his son or daughter, “Give me thine heart and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
We can force blind obedience from our small children by reinforcing our commands with punishment when needed. However, our goal should be to win the hearts of our children by the time they are teens; otherwise we may lose them to Satan and to this sinful world system.
So Jesus observed pride in the actions of the guests invited to the Pharisee’s dinner. The actions of the guests in seeking honored positions at the feast showed hearts lacking in humility.
The curse of pride
Pride according to Proverbs 6:16-19 is the most abominable sin in the eyes of God. It was pride that caused Satan to fall from His glorious position in Heaven. The story is told in Isaiah 14: and Ezekiel 28.
It was pride that Satan used to lure Adam and Eve into sin as recorded in Genesis 3.
It is pride alone that brings sinful division and destroys churches according to Proverbs 13:10
God resists the proud, but gives grace, beauty and honor to the humble as is taught in I Peter 5:5-6.
A meek and quiet spirit is the most beautiful trait in a woman according to I Peter 3:1-5.
Pride is so obvious.
Many sins can be hidden, but not pride. It is obvious for all to see.
There is the proud look talked about in Proverbs 6:17.
There is the proud walk that calls attention to itself as described in Isaiah 3:16
There are the haughty words that dare anyone to shut them up. “No one can tell me what I can or can’t say.” Psalm 12:1-4
There are the proud words that tend to stir up trouble. Proverbs 28:25
There are the boasters who dare to shake their puny fists in the face of God.
There are the lovers of self from which all other sins proceed. II Timothy 3:1-4
In the story before us in Luke 14:7-11 we see those who seek to exalt themselves end up making fools of themselves.
Pride is most obnoxious.
Pride is the most obnoxious of sins. It keeps people from seeking after God. Psalm 10:4
God designed salvation from start to finish to strike a deadly blow to our pride. No proud, self-righteous person will ever be in Heaven. Only those who humble themselves before God and trust Christ who died and rose again for our sins.
In Christ alone we can be proud. In Galatians 6:14 Paul says, “But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” A proud Christian is an ugly contradiction.
Pride is offensive.
Pride is offensive to God. It attempts to steal the glory that belongs only to God Himself.
Pride is also offensive to people. No one enjoys being around a proud, boastful person. It’s worse than having to sit beside someone with BO or halitosis.
The proud will fall and be humiliated.
Proverbs 16:18 warns, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Miriam, Moses’ older sister dared to challenge him in his prophetic office and God touched her with leprosy until Moses graciously and humbly prayed for her healing.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride caused him to look and act like a donkey for a period of time. Read the marvelous story of this king in Daniel 4. This proud king eventually turned in humility to God. Read his powerful testimony of God’s power.
King Belshazzar dared to mock God and was killed that night. Daniel 5
We read in Acts 12 of King Herod who accepted the worship of men and was eaten by worms.
So what did Jesus teach at the dinner table?
In Luke 14:12-14 Jesus taught the guests to not seek position and status and end up being embarrassed and ashamed.
Don’t promote yourself, we are warned in Psalm 75:5-7 Promotion comes only from God.
Jesus is the perfect example of humility and Christians are to follow His example by serving others. Read of it in Philippians 2.
Pride and self-love are deeply ingrained is each of us. We are born with it. The only way for us to rid ourselves of pride and self-love is to love the Lord Jesus with all our heart, soul and mind. It’s impossible to serve two masters. We hate one and serve the other. If we love Him with our whole heart, it will be impossible for us to love and promote ourselves. Matthew 6:24
Be prepared to be humbled under “the mighty hand of God.” That could be your spouse, your boss, someone in your church or any associate or friend. I Peter 5:5-6
Jesus taught us that it’s better for us to humble ourselves and let God exalt us than to exalt ourselves and have God humble us. That’s the lesson of Luke 14:12-14.
One more thing. Don’t be too concerned about trying to decide whether you are humble enough. If you attempt to humble yourself, you will actually be proud about it. The best thing to do is just love Jesus with all your heart, and there will be no room for self exaltation or pride.