Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
How do you want God to be involved in your life? Do you want His help or His opposition? Seems like a foolish question doesn’t it? Actually it is a very important question because our posture before God can indicate the way that God will respond to our concerns and prayers.
James called upon his Christian brethren to “humble” themselves “before the Lord.” He teaches that humility before God results in a positive response from God in which we will be lifted up. Previously in verse 6, James references Proverbs 3:34 to point out that pride also gets God’s attention but with an opposite result. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Which response do you want from God? Grace or opposition? I don’t know about you but I’ll take grace.
James was dealing with the same behavior that exists among the Christian community today. They were engaged in fights and quarrels (James 4:1), self-indulgence (v 2-3), and worldliness (v 4). The root of their ungodly conduct was pride. They failed to humble or submit themselves to the authority and instruction of God.
When we are consumed by self-indulgent pride we set up a roadblock to the heavenly help we desire. “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.”(v 2)
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (v 3) God does not honor or bless such behavior. But more than just ignoring such conduct, God “opposes” it.
Humility empowers and pride hinders. Humility attracts heavenly help, but pride attracts heavenly opposition. So, what does it mean to “humble” ourselves before God?
Humility is the absence of pride, haughtiness, and arrogance. For the Christian it is submission and surrender to the person and authority of God. In all matters of life — His way, His power, and His direction come first. Less of us…more of Him. Less about us…more about God.
When we want something…and want it badly we don’t like to hear the dreaded word NO. However, that is the response we can expect from God when we seek His provision or help while engaging in sinful, ungodly, and self-indulgent behavior.
Your behavior reflects the reality of your heart. When your heart is right then your prayers will be from right motives and acceptable to God. For your heart to be right you must surrender your will to God’s will.
As Jesus was facing the horrific ordeal of the cross He humbled Himself completely to the will of the Father when He said, “Not my will but Your will.” (Luke 22:42) God honored Jesus’ humility with the greatest of all victories.
What stands in the way of you truly humbling yourself before God? Is there a behavior that needs to be corrected? What is it that you know God wants you to do that you have refused to do? Is there something onto which you are holding that stands between you and God?
God has an extra measure of grace in store for you if you will humble yourself before Him. You may be at that point in your life where you need a lift. Remember what James said, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” God wants to bless you today. He’s waiting for your surrender.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Rise Above Your Inadequacies
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.