Like love, joy is less an emotion than it is a posture of the heart. That posture must be a humble one or joy will run for the hills.
Joy and pride are incompatible.
Humility and pride look in different directions. A humble heart posture looks up (toward God), not down (toward the traps around our feet). It looks out (toward others), not in (toward self). The great irony is that the one who lifts her face to God is often delivered from all those traps around her feet.
Humility and pride also splash praise on different objects. A humble heart posture gives glory to God, but pride gives glory to self. A humble heart says to praise, “Thank you. I worked hard to accomplish that. I’m so thankful that God has given me this gift and sustained me along the way.” Pride says to praise, “Yes! That’s me! I’m the greatest!”
The real test of that humility is when we face disappointment, or loss, or grief surges up in our throats. It’s easy to give God glory after a win. During and after loss is the real test.
If you haven’t watched the interview yet, click on the video above for a wonderful ten minute interview with Colt McCoy: a man who has long embodied this humble posture. If you’d like, skip the opening conversation. It starts getting exciting at 1.30.
There are much worse things than losing a football game. Much worse things rise up out of the dark waters and swallow us whole. Perhaps this old poem will encourage those of you who feel swallowed right now. Even in the belly of the whale, the humble heart posture looks up, not down. And when delivered, the humble heart posture gives glory to God.
The Ribs And Terrors In The Whale
by Herman Melville
The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,
And left me deepening down to doom.
I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
Oh, I was plunging to despair.
In black distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe him mine,
He bowed his ear to my complaints—
No more the whale did me confine.
With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightening shone
The face of my Deliverer God.
My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power.