I'm going to tag-team off of Phil's fine post from yesterday.
It chafes to be on the wrong end of an unfair comparison. Your parents think your sibling is the best little child because (s)he's a skilled kiss-up, and they don't hear the seditious chatter that starts up the moment they leave the room. Or you try to be a godly wife and mother who uses her abilities to the full in service of God and your family — but you know that society sees you as pathetic and servile, favoring instead aggressive, un-feminine, ungodly women.
The stance of the Word on the matter is plain and univocal, more than one post can do justice. But we'll give it a whack.
Let's start by way of Hebrews 11. We all know that the men and women in that chapter were flawed, yet they are held up as examples. In what way are they examples? In their weakness and vacillation? Not at all, but "by [faith] the people of old received their commendation" (v. 2).
Again and again, the writer focuses on the faith that motivated the believers of old, and describes them as those "who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight" (vv. 33-34). It was as they were nerved, strengthened, and moved to action by resolute faith that they served as models.
So cast your mind back to Psalm 1. You know the characteristic of the blessed man: rather than join in the walk and worldview of the wicked, he delights in and dwells on God's Word. To what does God liken him? To a tree, transplanted by streams of water (v. 3).
Think of trees. They're boring! They just stand there. And stand there, and stand there, and stand there. Imperceptibly, yet steadily, they grow and bear fruit — but their characteristics are (1) life, (2) fruitfulness, and (3) a certain immobility.
Much more exciting is the chaff. Watch the chaff driven by the wind: now here, now there, ever in motion, ever moving, ever dynamic — ever dead. See, that's why it's so mobile. It has no roots, no life, and no future (vv. 4-5).
If David wrote Psalm 119, he weighs in again on this subject from another angle:
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,Three times we see the insolent, who are arrogant and presumptuous. What characterizes them? God's word is not enough for them. They wander from God's commandments, they turn away from His law, they do not live according to His revelation.
who wander from your commandments (Psalm 119:21)
The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law (Psalm 119:51)
The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law (Psalm 119:85)
And there is the soul of pride: God has spoken, but it is not convicting, not compelling, not enough.
Thus it ever was. Satan started right there: the conversation-starting open inquiry "Did God really say?" soon led to "God was wrong."
Very little has changed. When you hear A, start looking for B.
The believing perspective is the opposite. The believer is the one who finds God's word utterly sufficient, and utterly compelling. "The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?" (Amos 3:8).
Comes the New Covenant and Jesus, and nothing has changed. Jesus has no praise for the restless wanderer, but does pronounce blessing on the one who hears, heeds, and builds his (boring, immobile, stable) house on His words (Matthew 7:24-27).
So His apostle will want to see believers who are — not constantly flitting hither and yon from fad to fad, but — resistant to winds of doctrine in their steady growth (Ephesians 4:13-14), and stable in their walks (Colossians 2:2-10). What he wants is for them to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Nor is it a matter of indifference to the apostle of Christ. The Gospel is specific and not-other. If let slip, it will not save (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). If perverted, it brings damnation (Galatians 1:8-9).
It is interesting that this stance will infuriate compromised ditherers not content to take the minority position. The psalmist notes, "The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts" (Psalm 119:69). Desperate to shush their throbbing conscience or quiet the fears of God's judgment, they must slander those whose example stings them.
In other words, it has to be about something other than what it really is about.
God's stance is very plain. He in no way calls dithery, compromising instability "humility." In fact, listen to what He does so categorize: "But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66 2b).
So, in sum:
The soul of humility is to seek a clear word from God, and respond with "Amen" — that is, to find it, and stand on it without compromise or apology. It is about God and His glory.
The soul of arrogance is to take a clear word of God, and respond with "Has God really said?" — that is, to put energies into defending compromise, dithering, uncertainty, unbelief. It is about man and his straying.
God grant us true humility as He defines humility.