I've included some John Steinbeck in my summer reading, and this quote from Cannery Row struck me.
The two lists of character traits look like what amounts to a power struggle within a person. I see it as a struggle between pride and humility.
the Bible has a lot to say about this subject... Habakkuk 2:4(NKJV) “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
God opposes the proud because in the only place in the Bible where Jesus describes Himself, he says- Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (The word gentle in the Greek also can mean humble.)
Merriam Webster defines pride as, “A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
Pride follows alongside achievement and mirrors the second set of traits in the Steinbeck quote.
I would like to propose a more straightforward definition pride is inward trust. Another word for trust is faith. I wear suspenders and I have faith, or trust that they will keep my pants where they belong (everything works better that way for everyone...) So we can have faith in anything… Pride is self-faith, self-trust, self-reliance, self-interest, all about trusting me, me, me. I can handle it- no problem. I can tell you by personal experience that doesn’t work out well.
The opposite then, humility, is outward trust. Or outward faith
We as humans have been given a choice we have free will we can choose pride- many do or we can put our trust in someone or something else to be successful.
Jesus put His trust in God John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
We must also swallow our pride and submit ourselves to, and trust in (put our faith in) God. Not to any other person Not to our country Not to any political party Not to any organization Not to any movement Not to any thing
So if you humbly empty yourself and fill yourself with faith in God, what will happen?
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
If you allow the relationship to take hold it will work miracles in your life.
You will see a gradual shift from the second list in the Steinbeck quote to the first.
Your pride, your beliefs, your biases all change because of the work of God in your life.
He will exalt you- raise you up. Why? The light and love of God that is in you will show off the glory of God.
Colossians 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Christ in you- Christianity is an intensely personal experience. We have to allow God to work in us. If we don’t we are like an iceberg- all “Christian-y” on the top but still having a huge underside of pride. (I know a few people like that)
It seems like we can’t fix things- alone we can’t but God can, through us! He wants to see His light and His love shine through us. He wants us to know Him.
To close, a little downside up reading of an Old Testament verse...
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
I believe that we must first walk humbly with our God, then we will learn to love kindness and mercy, and do justice... and shift the world a little from the second list to the first.
Grace & Peace Scott ps– all scriptures are ESV unless stated otherwise- all emphasis is my own. pps– subscribing by email is the best way to follow the winding writing path I am on (and I am pretty sure Jesus loves subscribers ;–)