Consider, for example, the problem of pride, or haughtiness. Concerning it, the Bible states: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) The Scriptures also counsel us: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind.” (Galatians 6:3) Yes, pride is destructive and deceptive. We are wise to hate “self-exaltation and pride.”—Proverbs 8:13.
Did Jesus’ apostles have a problem with self-exaltation and pride? On at least one occasion, they argued among themselves about who was greater. (Mark 9:33-37) At another time, James and John requested prominent positions in the Kingdom. (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus desired to help his disciples get rid of this tendency. So in the course of eating the Passover meal, he got up, girded himself with a towel, and proceeded to wash the feet of his disciples. He left no doubt as to the lesson he wanted them to learn. “If I, although Lord and Teacher, washed your feet,” said Jesus, “you also ought to wash the feet of one another.” (John 13:14) Pride must be replaced by its opposite—humility.
Pride, though, is not easy to conquer. Later that evening after Jesus had dismissed Judas Iscariot, who was about to betray him, a heated argument erupted among the 11 apostles. Their concern? Which one of them seemed to be greatest! Rather than scolding them, once again Jesus patiently stressed the importance of serving others. He said: “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way. But let him that is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one acting as chief as the one ministering.” Reminding them of his example, he adds: “I am in your midst as the one ministering.”—Luke 22:24-27.
Did the apostles get the point? Evidently so. Years later the apostle Peter wrote: “All of you be like-minded, showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate, humble in mind.” (1 Peter 3:8) How vital that we too conquer pride with humility! We are wise not to get caught up in the pursuit of fame, power, or position. “God opposes the haughty ones,” states the Bible, “but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” (James 4:6) Likewise, an ancient wise proverb states: “The result of humility and the fear of Jehovah is riches and glory and life.”—Proverbs 22:4.