Humble Yourself

James 4:4-10

 You adulterers![a] Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?[b]But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
 but favors the humble.”[c]

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

There are several songs I remember singing as a teenager during youth group meetings at Glenkirk Presbyterian Church in Southern California. One chorus in particular keeps replaying through my mind because, I believe, it’s a principal that God wants to solidify in my heart.

“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord….”

(echo) “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord….”

“Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord….”

(echo) “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord….”

“And He will raise you higher and higher and higher and higher…. And He will raise you higher and higher and higher and higher….”

I, like most of us, like being praised. It’s nice to be acknowledged for all the hard work I do for others. But that desire for recognition is pride…and when I seek that feeling of worthiness from man, woman, or child, God opposes me.

IMG_7616Consider the role of mother. From the moment of conception, the child within is on the take. In order to ensure its survival, the growing fetus needs to take up room inside our bodies to develop and take in nutrients to sustain life. After the child is born it continues to take our time, our energy, our talents – and sometimes even our minds! Motherhood is often a sacrificial, thank-less job.

Not until I became a mother did I realize the sacrifice my mother gave in order to give me life. Most of her efforts went unacknowledged and unappreciated until I was an adult.

Not until I became a Christ follower did I realize the sacrifice my Savior gave in order to give me eternal life in heaven -and life to the full on this earth. Most of His efforts when unacknowledged and unappreciated….. until I began learning how Jesus humbled himself in the sight of the Father over and over and over again. Never once did He seek the praises of man. Instead, He sought only to fulfill the will of the One who sent Him; to give his life as a sacrifice on behalf of those who didn’t deserve it. Yet, in the end, God raised His Son from the dead and lifted Him to the seat of honor, beside His throne.

In His grace and generosity, God promises to do the same for me. As I continue to crucify my flesh and humble myself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift me up in honor. Some of that honor will be for this world, but only to Advance His Kingdom and make His name great. Some will be reserved for the day that I stand before my Father’s throne. And in that moment, the only acknowledgement that will matter will be from the One who created me in my mother’s womb.

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