Grudging Obedience

August 10, 2006 | 41 comments
By

I was maybe ten years old when I complained to my father about having to go to church. I didn’t like it; it was boring; why couldn’t I just stay home? His response susprised me: “If you don’t want to be there, then stay home. God doesn’t want your grudging obedience.” Elated (and a bit nonplussed), I stayed home a few times; ultimately, I felt guilty and resumed attendance.

Since then, I’ve thought about the question on occasion. Does God expect us to give grudging obedience? What sort of blessings (if any) do we get from grudging obedience? What is the result when we say, for example, “I really hate the Word of Wisdom and I think it’s stupid and I wish I could go have a cup of tea, but I’m going to obey it anyway.” Or the same regarding church attendance, chastity, scripture reading, tithing, temple attendance, missionary work, whatever.

On the one hand, it is easy to find statements condemning grudging obedience. For example, James E Talmadge wrote:

Our Father desires no reluctant homage nor unwilling praise. Formalism in worship is acceptable only so far as it is accompanied by an intelligent devoutness; and it is of use only as an aid to the spiritual devotion which leads to communion with Deity. The spoken prayer is but empty sound if it be anything less than an index to the volume of the soul’s righteous desire. Communications addressed to the throne of Grace must bear the stamp of sincerity if they are to reach their high destination. The most acceptable form of worship is that which rests on an unreserved compliance with the laws of God as the worshiper has learned their intent.

These statements make a lot of sense in the gospel context. We have a raft of scriptures telling us that God looks on the heart; “how a man thinketh”; whited seplechures; and so forth. (And does a Mormon culture already suffused with passive aggressiveness really need to add grudging obedience to the mix?)

On the other hand, sometimes commandments bring with them tangible, physical results. We have better lung health when we refrain from smoking, whether we do so cheerfully or grudgingly. We will have better knowledge of the gospel when we read scriptures. The same applies to many other commandments. The D&C tells us that we receive blessings when we obey commandments. Presumably at least some of these will be given even if our obedience is grudging.

Finally, how should we translate ideas about grudging obedience into everyday lives? Suppose that someone has no desire to obey some commandment. (Yes, it happens). Should our response be, “you should obey it anyway, even if you have to do so grudgingly”? Or should it be, “you should wait until you believe it and can obey it cheerfully”? Put in that context, is grudging obedience a step up from cheerful non-compliance? Or is it a wash?

Tags:

41 Responses to Grudging Obedience

  1. Connor Boyack on August 10, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. (Moroni 7:8).

    eek…

  2. john f. on August 10, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    CB, knowing that scripture helped me a lot to have the right perspective about certain difficult activities and experiences on my mission.

  3. Kaimi Wenger on August 10, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    CB and John,

    Ought we then counsel the hypothetical member to go ahead and smoke the cigarette, sleep with the neighbor, and skimp on the tithing, until she’s sure she can obey cheerfully?

  4. john f. on August 10, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    No, I don’t think so. I think that grudging obedience can be a first step if someone is unwilling to obey out of love or otherwise for the right reasons. I think it is still worth keeping the commandments, even if grudgingly. We all keep the commandments only grudgingly at times. But we can continually work to improve our attitude to obey willingly and not grudgingly.

  5. Connor Boyack on August 10, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Kaimi,

    No. I think just the opposite. We are told that we should not permit prospective members to be baptized and partake of the sacrament unworthily. One must repent of all these more serious sins before doing so.

    For a missionary, lifetime member, visiting teacher, or anybody else assigned to a calling, I think this verse indicates that we must have a “change of heart”, understanding why the labor is important, who it benefits, and who we are serving. Only then will we truly be able to give God the only thing he doesn’t already have: our will (as Elder Maxwell said).

    Is grudging obedience better than not doing the action at all? I’m not sure. Does a grumpy teacher collecting fast offerings, muttering swear words under his breath the entire time, bring the spirit to those he visits, as he is counseled to do in the D&C? Doubtful. Does the Primary President who is sick of kids bring the spirit and enlighten the children when she sits in the corner and makes her counselors do all the work? Most likely no.

    I’ve got mixed feelings on this one, but my limited experience tells me that if we are grudgingly obeying, we need to repent and pray hard to understand the importance of the act we should be cheefully doing. If the grudgingly obedient person is someone other than yourself, well, then there’s always bribery, right? That’s how my mom always got me to behave…

  6. Mark Butler on August 10, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Moroni was speaking of gifts. The obedience to certain commandments has a gift character. Most do not. Refraining from sin is not a gift to anyone.

  7. john f. on August 10, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Refraining from sin might be a gift to God, in a certain manner of speaking. It is the sacrifice of the only thing truly ours — our will — as Elder Maxwell has put it.

  8. greenfrog on August 10, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Kaimi,

    As i read D&C 130 (And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.), and the several scriptures you have noted, I infer that there is a mens rea element to certain, but not all, blessings. I understand the more categorical assertions about these matters to be (over)generalizations.

    I also think Mark Butler’s point is well taken about sinning against (harming) others. But I think Elder Talmadge’s point is broader than Mark’s reading of the scriptures. If one of my kids (teens) asks about a practice that is proscribed, but does not harm others, I’ll likely respond as your father did to you.

    But I’ll do what I can to make sure that they stay fully aware of the nature and effects of such paths.

  9. Starfoxy on August 10, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    I think that ‘grudging’ is not the same as ‘not wanting to.’ Grudging has an element of resentment, hate or ill will. Maybe it’s splitting hairs but I there is a decided difference, for example, between not wanting to make a casserole for someone in the ward but doing it anyways, and making a casserole for someone and hoping they choke on it.

    Perhaps, to me, the biggest difference lies in who or what the dislike is aimed at. If the dislike is for the task, I don’t see it being a problem. After all, Christ wasn’t exactly skipping on the way to Garden of Gethsemane. However, when the dislike is for the other person or recipient that is when it becomes a sin. In other words Christ’s reluctance would only have been wrong if he was asking to let the bitter cup pass because he didn’t want to do it *for us.*

    I really think the admonition against obeying grudingly is not telling us we need to joyously obey every commandment, but rather that we cannot allow ourselves to dislike those whom we serve or allow to serve us.

  10. Ed Johnson on August 10, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    There are lots of reasons we might do something, and clearly some are better than others. For example, a man might attend church because (roughly from worst to best):

    1. He wants to gain the member’s trust so he can rip them off in a scam.
    2. He wants to be seen and respected by others because of pride.
    3. He enjoys socializing with the members.
    4. He wants to set a good example for other family members.
    5. He goes only out of a sense of duty (e.g. to fulfill callings)
    6. He goes only out of a sense of loyalty to the church and it’s teachings.
    7. He goes only because he believes God wants him to.

    All these could be called “grudging” to some extent, and they all fall short of the ideal reasons that we believe people should want to attend church. But I think most of us would agree that only 1 and 2 are in any way evil, so I don’t think we should disparage reasons like 3-7.

  11. Doc on August 10, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Kaimi,
    Grudging obedience is still obedience. It is probably a more telestial form and will not lead us to all the blessings available to us. Certainly if we can accomplish the mighty change of heart we will be happier, but we have to start somewhere. Certainly while I believe blessings are lost by maintaining a begrudged attitude, at the very least some very real consequences of sin are avoided.

    I do not think we should counsel the begrudging member to sin, but rather pray for a change of heart. Encourage them to know and love God and let them know that the change of heart is what leads to a truer and more fulfilling joy. I think more is accomplished by emphasizing the positive than harping on the negative.

  12. Ryan on August 10, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Well, if you obey grudgingly, why are you obeying? To “make it” to the celestial kingdom? Well guess what, it ain’t gonna feel celestial to you if you’re missing all the tasty stuff you grudgingly avoided during your earth life.
    I think the point the Lord is trying to make is that in the end, I will be the biggest determinant of what kingdom I will “exist” in. If I follow the gospel grudgingly,. I will not see the celestial kingdom as anything but a continuance of my earthly headache. I will choose another kingdom and be happy about it. It will be glorious to my taste.

  13. Dyslexic Mystic on August 10, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    It\’s all about choice for me, agency if you will. If you don\’t enjoy the commandment its because you don\’t understand it. I think you learn by action. You learn by doing it and seeing the blessings or you learn by not doing it and seeing the consequences. That\’s what gaining a testimony of the Gospel is all about. It\’s not about being cheerful or grudging it\’s about understanding. Your feelings about the choices you are faced with are just ways of better understanding your relationship with truth. Doing something grudgingly means you have not gone deeper than a quick, \”well, God told me to do it, I guess I will\” If you find something you know you should do and you just don\’t want too do it, chances are you haven\’t thought about it enough or you are avoiding thinking about it. It\’s practically the absences of choice. I say jump off the fence! God would rather you made a bad choice than rot in the middle. In the middle you don\’t learn anything but how to keep yourself in that Grey moral limbo. Were we born in the last seconds of the last days to sit on a fence and trod that slow easy path to the terrestrial kingdom?
    If someone asks you what they should do tell them \”Do what God told you to do or don\’t, but make a choice.\” There is nothing wrong with making a bad choice, there is something wrong with not learning from it.
    wow.. a little soap boxy. Forgive me. It\’s been a while since I have blogged/posted and i have a little pent up steam.

  14. Mark Butler on August 10, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    John F., I see service to others without thought of immediate reward, tithing and offerings beyond the call of duty, patience with others infirmities, mourning with those that mourn, comforting those that stand in need of comfort, etc., as having a gift character. I do not see abstaining from any of the thou-shalt-nots as having any sort of gift character whatsoever. That is for our own benefit, not the benefit of others.

    To the degree one is blessed for abstaining from injuring oneself or others, I do not think the blessing is contingent on one’s attitude with regard to the abstention. A bad attitude has other risks, but whatever blessing is available will come nonetheless, both to the ignorant and to the foot draggers.

    In the case of postive acts of service, however, attitiude seems to make all the difference in the world. e.g. “though I give all my goods to the poor, and my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing”

  15. Ardis on August 10, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    If grudging obedience is a problem, the solution is not to cease the obedience but to grow toward the point of ceasing the grudging.

  16. Bookslinger on August 10, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Grudging obedience may not bring the blessing, but it avoids the punishment of disobedience.

  17. Sasha on August 10, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    As was thoroughly discussed in the Enabling Grace thread, our works do little for us, unless done in humility and with sincere desire, having faith in Christ. However, let’s not forget that the Lord is not only a “finisher” but the “author” of our faith. He uses every opportunity to help us. Remember Alma 32? Even if we have nothing but a desire to believe, and exercise but a particle of faith, we will then have planted a seed which will either be nurished or, if our ground is barren, die. We are commanded to be obedient because obedience does not come naturally to the natural man. So, grudging obedience, while not sufficient for exaltation, opens the door for the Lord to change our hearts enough where we will actually want to to be obedient. Naaman is a good example. His obedience was grudging, and the Lord knew his heart, yet He healed his leprosy and that was a good start for Naaman!

  18. Keszaya on August 10, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    When Christ was faced with the prospect of atoning for the sins of the world he asked if there were any other way. Does this mean he performed the atonement grudgingly? I do not think so. Does the fact that the Lord flat out asked if the cup could pass somehow diminish the efficacy of the atonement or the Lord\’s graciousness in performing it? Again, no.

    Certainly none of the sacrifices I\’ve been asked to make or commandments I\’ve been asked to keep as a Christian compare to the atonement. I take comfort, however, in believing that going to church even though my first choice would be sleeping in or watching television for example, is still counted to me for righteousness. I doubt I\’m the only person who experiences a range of attitudes toward a simple commandment like church attendance varying from enthusiasm all the way to resentment depending upon my circumstances and spiritual health at the time. I personally believe it is counted to me for righteousness when I go to church even when I truly resent it, but I do think I get more out of it and am generally more blessed when my heart is willing. Our attitude toward the demands placed upon us as disciples is an important gauge of the spiritual health we are trying to cultivate, and we should pay attention to it. Moments of less than thrilled to obey/sacrifice come to us all. Nevertheless, my motto remains: when in doubt obey. Simple cost benefit analysis: even if there is no \”counted as righteousness\” attached to grudging obedience to a particular commandment, the spiritual and physical positive externalities associated with obedience to almost all commandments generally outweigh any inconvenience or other harm I can foresee in keeping them. If others get a different result in this balancing test, well, they are most welcome to work out their own salvation.

  19. Seth R. on August 10, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    All things being equal, grudging obedience is better than nothing.

    That just seems patently obvious.

  20. meems on August 11, 2006 at 2:03 am

    I agree. I had a Sunday School teacher who once told us that Heavenly Father wants us to obey the commandments cheerfully. But if we can’t obey them cheerfully and with a good heart, at least obey them!

  21. manaen on August 11, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Do the right thing for the best reason you can. (and your reasons will get better as you continue to do it)
    - Stephen R. Covey

  22. mullingandmusing (m&m) on August 11, 2006 at 2:41 am

    Ed’s list reminded me of a talk by Elder Oaks where he shares six reasons why we serve (not an exhaustive list, he says). Might be relevant here. The reasons he listed, in “ascending order” up the the “best” reason for serving are:

    -hope of earthly reward
    -personal desire to obtain good companionship.
    -fear of punishment.
    -sense of duty or out of loyalty to friends or family or traditions.
    -hope of an eternal reward.
    -because of charity, the pure love of Christ

  23. mullingandmusing (m&m) on August 11, 2006 at 2:44 am

    wow. nice linking job, eh? sheesh….

    p.s. I love that Covey quote. Thanks, manaen.

  24. Mark Butler on August 11, 2006 at 3:19 am

    I would say that the proposition that God actively punishes people for not keeping most positive commandments is questionable because active punishment for most forms of inaction is unjust. So if we are talking about serving others we would have to translate “fear of punishment” to “fear of not receiving blessings, or fear of becoming unworthy of the grace of God” to be accurate, in a technical sense. Worst case, a fall from grace is punishment enough, and God does not have to lift a finger, he only has to stop lifting.

    On the more basic issue, suppose one positively despises a required activity, but he has a sincere desire to do it for the best of all reasons. Then so far as grace is concerned he has no grudge at all, being justified by faith, until the day comes when desire meets reality.

  25. dsilversmith on August 11, 2006 at 3:19 am

    His response susprised me: “If you don’t want to be there, then stay home. God doesn’t want your grudging obedience.�

    Did I say that? Must have caught me at a weak time. Are you sure I did say you could stay home but could not play video games, TV, eat, and go out side? I gave in that easy? :)

  26. Judy Brooks on August 11, 2006 at 8:06 am

    Better to do it grudgingly.

    “Don’t cross the street. There’s a car coming.”
    “But I WANT to cross the street.”
    “OK. Wouldn’t want you stay here on the curb and be GRUDGING.”

    SPLAT!

  27. Rusty on August 11, 2006 at 9:51 am

    #15 Ardis, you’re exactly right. Those scriptures aren’t about obedience. Obedience is a given. They’re about the attitude we need when we obey.

  28. madera verde on August 11, 2006 at 11:13 am

    This is really a complicated issue. That’s because you can look at it in a sense of choice or obedience. Consider the example of a smoker. Suppose we could prove that its going to shorten his life by x and decrease its quality by y. He says, that’s fine, I’m willing to pay that price because I get z satisfaction out of it and I don’t want to go to the trouble and suffering that it would require to quit.
    Can we condemn him? It first seems that the answer would be no. After all he has his free agency and is choosing what he wants, fully aware of the consequences.
    Of course, the problem with that is that people are really bad at making choices. When he is hacking up his lungs in a hospital bed as his family looks on in anguish it might seem different to him then. Often the future doesn’t seem entirely “real” to us. The scriptures say that the just will live by faith and part of that is seeing the end from the beginning. But we don’t, at least not fully.
    One might argue too that he is not entirely his own. God lent him his life and for him to destroy it is not just. However I have my doubts about how much I would want to accept this argument. Surely the free-agency He grants us trumps the claim He has on us because He is our creator.
    So that leads us to ponder the nature of obedience. Why obey? or to quote: “What doth it profit to serve God?” The answer is this: “If you love me keep my commandments” & “It is the pure love of God which is the most precious above all other things”. All the other reasons will fail at some point.
    Hope of Reward/Punishment: When disobedience seems greater than the punishment/lost reward.
    Social/Traditional Reasons: When it won’t be known or isn’t traditional.
    Hope of an eternal reward: This seems a misunderstanding. I don’t think that the Celestial Kingdom will hold much appeal over the terrestial without having the full unstinted quality of charity. Will eternal increase hold much joy if we don’t love them as our Heavenly Father loves us? Won’t they be a nusiance and bother? And so forth. The terrestial requires obedience to the terrestial laws though. Hello Immanuel Kant.

    But I find that if I do the work, I began to get the spirit of the work and I begin to feel more united with God. It seems though that the more forced my service is the less good it does me in that respect. I think my advice then, would be for people to experiment, honestly try obedience and see how that effects them.

  29. greenfrog on August 11, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    We (most of us) lack the skills to act perfectly, so we practice.

    Acting with the right mindset is a skill that can be developed through practice.

  30. Sheri Lynn on August 12, 2006 at 1:16 am

    Often grudgingly, I got up to provide night feedings and diaper changes for my babies, and they grew and developed just fine, but I sure was grateful when I didn’t have to get up at 2 am anymore. What I did for them didn’t always have to be done with gratitude and cheerfulness, and I believed in brisk and businesslike night feedings, saving playtime for daytime.

    I do need to point out, however, that there are perfectly sound reasons besides being LDS not to smoke, not to drink alcohol, not to fornicate. An atheist can unwittingly every commandment his whole life long, for health’s sake or because he is just not tempted, but since it is not done for God, it means nothing, spiritually.

  31. Seth R. on August 12, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Until my children are adults, they will go to church. Grudgingly or not. If it causes them to resent me later in life, so be it. I’m their father first and foremost. Friendship is just a bonus.

    It’s better to give your children something to rebel against than absolutely no direction at all. At least they’ll have an identity, even if that identity is “rebel.” That’s more than you can say about countless Americans who received absolutely nothing from their permissive parents and now have no clue who they are.

  32. MontanaMuse on August 12, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Sometimes it is grudgingly given obedience that has gotten me over the rough spots in life. That I grudgingly attended meetings is why I still attend meetings. Had I not gone grudgingly, I would have gotten out of the habit, found more fun and exciting things to do, and then when the rough spot smoothed out, would I have even been able to realize that I was back in a place to not be grudging about my attendance? Or would it have then required not only grudgingly giving up all the other things I had been doing to attend church, but grudgingly attending (still) in order to feel the spirit again. And included repenting for all that was done while not attending the meetings or at the very least for not attending the meetings?

    I am a firm believer that there are times we do things we do not want to do, just because we \”are supposed\” to do it. Are there times that I resent having to do something because of my calling, or husbands calling? Sure. Are there times that I go to something because I have to, complaining all the way to that particular activity, be it an enrichment activity or Sacrament meeting and come away from it glad that I went and feeling blessed for it? More often than not. So I believe that even if we obey grudgingly, there can be blessings come from it.

    Perhaps there are specific blessings that are withheld from some who grudgingly obey some specific principles and commandments, like the windows of heaven will not be opened if you pay tithing grudgingly, but that doesn\’t mean that you will not someday be blessed with a testimony of tithing if you continue to do it.

    Obedience is the issue at hand. In a perfect world we would be happy and all endure to the end with smiles on our faces. But in a perfect world we wouldn\’t need the atonement. We need to be obedient because there are always blessings involved with obedience. And, No… I\’m not saying that we should be obedient only to obtain the blessings. That being said, we are told that there are blessings associated with obedience, particularly the blessing of testimony to the principle we are showing obedience to.

    There is a reason parents all use the phrase, \”Because I said so.\” There are times we do it simply because, He said so.

  33. greenfrog on August 12, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    An atheist can unwittingly [obey] every commandment his whole life long, for health’s sake or because he is just not tempted, but since it is not done for God, it means nothing, spiritually.

    I think this is wrong, mistaking our embodied spirituality in which our actions affect our very being as something to be rejected in preference of a disembodied, abstraction of spirituality.

  34. Jack on August 12, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with greenfrog–though I had to read it three times to understand it.

  35. Mark Butler on August 13, 2006 at 12:23 am

    I agree with greenfrog too, although there are are definitely some things (service, gifts, etc.) that if done with the wrong attitude avail us little or nothing. How many people serve or sacrifice without an objective? Many commandments are impossible to keep unwittingly. People serve and sacrifice for a reason, and that reason makes all the difference.

  36. grego on August 13, 2006 at 7:21 am

    Receiving a blessing from God, and receiving the blessing of temporal smarts, is different.
    We tell all to obey; all who do, are for the better.
    Those who obey grudgingly, will hopefully be safer and more likely to one day obey willingly.
    Those who obey grudgingly, still often reap what they sow in a temporal sense, and gain from the obedience.

  37. Sheri Lynn on August 13, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    I’d appreciate it very much if someone would translate what greenfrog said for me so I’ll understand why I’m wrong! LOL

    I understand what Grego said and think he is putting the matter much better than I did.

    Is a smoker who joins the church and gives up tobacco, a very difficult addiction to conquer, more righteous from the get-go than someone who only has to give up the occasional cup of Earl Grey? If the Earl Grey is given up grudgingly and the smokes are given up willingly, does that make the tea drinker more righteous? I don’t think our sacrifices are compared that way. But I could be wrong.

  38. Mark Butler on August 13, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Sheri Lynn (#37),

    As a rule one is blessed for the positive things one does, not for the negative things one does not. After the sacrifice is made, both persons return to the same state. God might smile upon the people who struggle, and help them overcome, but in the long run, the blessing of obedience is the same to both, which is really a blessing of avoiding the negative consequences of harmful material, making other spiritual blessings possible.

    One point to remember is the division between the temporal and the spiritual is illusory. All true blessings are spiritual blessings, all true laws are spiritual laws, some laws and blessings are just more significant than others (cf. D&C 29:31-35).

  39. greenfrog on August 14, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Sorry for the previously wacky syntax. I think Mark Butler and I are thinking alike, though we express the ideas a bit differently. Let me try it this way:

    1. I don’t think that God engages in a lot of “commandment just for the sake of testing a person’s obedience.” I’m not saying that there may not be some of that. There may. But most of the commandments that I’ve received and tried seemed aimed not so much at obedience as at improvement of my life.

    2. I think that acting in particular fashions affects not only our physical bodies, but also our spirits, as I’ve never been able to meaningfully separate the two. Every time that I think I’ve identified a “purely” spiritual aspect, I later discover that it’s at least heavily informed by — if not strongly influenced by — a physical aspect. Living with untreated and then treated depression has convinced me that even things that we ordinarily think of as purely “mind” can be have very significant “physical” aspects.

    3. Because of my beliefs in 1 and 2, I tend to think that living in conformity with a commandment such as “…of you it is required to forgive all men” will change a person’s body/spirit whether the person acts in accordance with the commandment because God commanded it or because the person figured it out on her own. And those changes will tend to make the person more like Christ, whether the person believes in Christ or not.

    4. I think this general idea applies to lots and lots of commandments, from the Word of Wisdom, to tithing, to doing my home teaching (or the non-LDS equivalent thereof, for those who are not believers in the LDS Church). There are spiritual aspects to conducting oneself in conformity with each of those commandments that are available to all who live in accordance with them, whether the action is accompanied by a particular set of beliefs about organization, authority, and Christ-centeredness or not.

    Or so think I.

    Is that clearer or have I muddied things up again?

  40. Dyslexic Mystic on August 14, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    That was a great post greenfrog. thank you.

  41. Mark Butler on August 14, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    I agree with what greenfrog said so well. I would add one thing though – there are some things that you can do *much* better if you have inspiration than not. On the other hand, many people receive inspiration without properly understanding who they are receiving it from – as long as they are humble. Pride is the death of inspiration.

    Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
    (Titus 1:15-16)

    But if one is humble and seeks the right that comes from above:

    Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
    (2 Thes 2:16-17)