I love how the Apostle Paul states the obvious in Galatians 6:3“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Isn’t that how you and I would talk? “Thinking we’re something when we’re not.” Vincent de Paul cut to the chase when he said, “Humility is nothing but the truth, and pride is nothing but lying.”He was a French Roman Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. He understood something about poverty and humility. He was taken captive by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery for years. Upon release, he worked among imprisoned galley-slaves and then worked exclusively among the poor in small villages.
His definition of humility is pretty self-explanatory. It’s really a statement of arrogance or pride. Frankly, this reminds us that this attitude starts first in the mind. What we think about ourselves. What we think about ourselves will always affect our behavior and our relationships.
One of the ways pride affects us is when we are deceived by our own smarts. 1 Cor. 3:18-20, “Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”
Sometimes we think we’re pretty smart. But intelligence does not equal wisdom. Paul says that knowledge can make you arrogant or as the King James Version says “puffs up.” I can get a swelled head because of all the knowledge I have. But if I reject spiritual wisdom I’m actually a fool.
The phrase “become a fool,” means I should become humble and teachable as if I actually don’t know anything (which in one sense is true). So that I may have my eyes opened to true wisdom and seek it. Not that knowledge isn’t important but if I don’t have spiritual wisdom to go along with it I haven’t really gained much of anything.