Humility vs. Pride

Out of many disciples (students/followers), Jesus chose twelve “whom also He named apostles” (Luke 6:13). Evidently they let this privilege go to their heads, because “there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by Him, and said unto them, ‘Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me receiveth Him that sent Me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.’” (Luke 9:46-48) God became the perfect example of the humility He expects of us when He walked the Earth as Jesus. He stated, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:29) Far from taking the role of someone important, Jesus performed the lowly task of washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5). Jesus came to be a minister (Matt. 20:28), and “minister” means “servant.”

Vanity, or pride, as the Bible calls it, is a sin (Prov. 8:13; Mark 7:21-23). Now I’m going to get a bit controversial by saying makeup and jewelry are signs of vanity. I don’t tell people they’re going to Hell for decorating themselves in this manner, but I also believe God disapproves of it. Paul wrote that women should be adorned “in modest apparel . . . not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” (I Tim. 2:9). Peter also stated that their adorning should “not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on of apparel” (I Pet. 3:3). Their mention of hair referred to an ancient practice of braiding gold and jewels into the hair, and the rest of their words obviously referred to jewelry in general. It shouldn’t be used to forbid things like wristwatches and wedding rings, because as long as they aren’t flashy and decorative, their purpose isn’t for show. The motive for wearing them is the issue.

As for makeup, there’s no specific condemnation of it, though it does fall into the same category as jewelry when women choose a decorative appearance that’s unnatural to human looks. “Cosmetics” is derived from “cosmos,” the Greek word for order and beauty, which I think was a very fitting name for God’s beautiful creation. I just have to disagree with applying it to makeup, which allegedly brings beauty to the face. I think women look much better without that gunk on their faces, but all that aside, I’m basing this article on Scripture rather than my personal opinion. I also want to add that there’s more to the story of Jezebel painting her face than the Bible mentions (II Kings 9:30). That and more is covered in this sermon about makeup and jewelry, as well as this sermon on modesty.

“Gray area” is terminology I’m very cautious of, but I believe the issue of modesty is something it actually applies to in some cases. I couldn’t tell you if showing off is why another person dresses a certain way or drives an expensive car. And when does the desire to look nice cross over into vanity? It’s not an easy question. I personally see nothing wrong with skin-colored makeup used to cover blemishes or scars, because it is just restoring an original appearance. Others would disagree. Then there’s the issue of dying gray hair so that it’s the same color it used to be. I can’t make up my mind on how God feels about that, but what I can tell you is I have a personal conviction to never do it myself. I have some gray hairs on my sideburns that I used to dye. But the night I was filled with the Holy Ghost, I opened my heart to God and wanted Him to know I was fully dedicated to Him. So, just in case God disapproved of hair dye, I told myself I would quit using it. Sure enough, I threw away my hair dye when getting home that night and I haven’t dyed my hair since.

Many things can be prideful, and while you may not think of certain things as a “Heaven or Hell issue,” why would you want to displease the God you love? Would you treat your parents that way? Would you do something you knew displeased them just because they would still love you? That’s the real issue here. How devoted to God are you? Are you willing to give something up to show your devotion to Him? I’m so thankful that I’m at a point in my life where I’m totally free of premeditated sin. Sure, I sometimes slip up, but I never plan on committing sin. I wouldn’t purposely go to a place with the expectation of seeing women partially clothed, for instance, but sometimes I catch myself looking when a woman with little on unexpectedly crosses my path. And that brings me to something else. I’m convinced most women who dress that way do so for show, not comfort. (Especially when you see a woman with little on shivering outside in cold weather.) So, how modest are you willing to be to please God?

“Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:12).


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