Godly humility the only antidote for pride, says Southern Seminary trustee

Communications Staff — September 9, 2015

Future Christian ministers should be wary of the seductive power of pride, said Arkansas pastor Nick Floyd in a Sept. 8 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“At every stage in your Christian ministry, pride will be your greatest enemy and humility will be your greatest friend,” said Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a member of the Southern Seminary Board of Trustees.

Nick Floyd preaches at Southern Seminary chapel, Sept. 9
Nick Floyd preaches at Southern Seminary chapel, Sept. 9

Preaching from 1 Peter 5:5-7, Floyd explained that meeting daily ministry challenges will inevitably tempt a pastor toward pride. Both praise and criticism, he said, will engender a self-sufficient attitude and must be handled with humility if pride is to be avoided.

“The greatest struggle you will ever have in ministry is your own heart,” he said.

Pride often cultivates arrogance in young ministers, Floyd said. It’s easy for young pastors or seminary students to feel like the smartest or most gifted person in their church, so young ministers need to fight that impulse with humble submission to church authority figures, Floyd said. Students should submit to elders and pastors, and young pastors should learn from older, wiser pastors in their community.

“Do not be identified as either the young pastor or the seminary student who is the arrogant person in the church,” Floyd said. “Run from that stereotype.”

Floyd said pride in ministry is also dangerous because Peter promises God will “oppose the proud.” This reality makes humility an urgent need for the Christian minister.

“When you have the opportunity between self-exaltation and self-sacrifice, choose the path of Christ,” Floyd said, alluding to Jesus’ example of humility and submission to his Father’s plan.  “Ministry will give you all the opportunities in the world for self-exaltation, and you must continually, continually, continually clothe yourself with humility.”

If any Christian, most notably a pastor, fails to submit to God in humility, God will humble us himself, Floyd said.

“It’s always, always, always less painful to humble yourself than to have God humble you. There are pains, there are scars, there are terrible times that each one of us can remember, when we chose the path of self-exaltation and God had to come in and [humble us].”

The fruit of pride is self-dependant anxiety, Floyd said. As pastors feel increasingly self-sufficient, they become decreasingly dependant upon God for their needs and eventually become anxious about things they can’t control. This attitude runs against biblical exhortations not to be anxious, but instead to rely on God’s provision. The antidote for pride, anxiety, and all sin, Floyd said, is the loving care of the Father, upon whom Christians can cast their cares, according to 1 Peter 5:7.

Audio and video of the chapel is available at sbts.edu/resources.

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