I do not want God to be working against me! And yet I am amazed at how often I forget this and allow a specific sin, which causes this very thing, to dominate either a situation I find myself in, or a brief moment that flashes past me.
What is it that causes God to oppose me? James 4:6 tells us “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” This is extremely serious, and even scary!
We are told to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). And yet humility is something that is so very hard to learn. I have said for years there will never be a book titled “How I Became Humble.” (And if there is, it probably isn’t worth reading!) So how can we learn to shed our pride and walk in true humility?
This subject may seem to be contradicting the blog I wrote recently, Yes, It IS About Me. But actually, that blog was dealing with pride as well – in the area of false humility, which has its root in pride. Our false humility happens because we are so wrapped up in spiritual pride that we parrot how “it’s all about God”, and absolutely “nothing is about me”, missing the point that if absolutely nothing is about me, then God would have no interest in me or have a plan for my life.
Before I jump fully into this subject, let me say I am definitely not even close to an “expert” in this area. The Holy Spirit seems to be constantly revealing my heart to me, showing me areas I still yield to this ugly fruit of my flesh as the motivation behind my actions.
Conquering the Game of Control by Craig Green is a book I read a few years ago that was a huge eye opener in this area. For me, it was one of those rare life changing books, which I highly recommend. I can’t even begin to share the many ways it affected me, but one of the main things it did was to give me a revelation of how ugly the sin of pride is, and how scary it is to have it activated in my life. Satan is at the root of all pride, and when I walk in this sin, it is activating the work of the enemy in me and through me to others. I realized I want nothing to do with being this channel of evil to those around me.
But saying and desiring that, and actually living it out on a daily basis, are two different things. We can all relate to Paul in Romans 7:14-16. “… I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.” (MSG).
I have come to realize that every sin has its root in pride. Think about any sin, and keep tracing back the motive behind it, and eventually you will come to the sin of pride. It is about ourselves, and what “I” want, about how “I” feel, about how “I” know better than someone else (including God) on how something should be done or not done, etc. It is the original sin, both with Satan and mankind through Eve, so it makes sense that it is the root of all sin.
So how do we uproot pride in our lives? The key is found in James 4:10. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” (NLT).
Have you ever noticed humility is not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit? According to James, it is something we have to choose to do to ourselves…hmm…interesting.
It is important to make a distinction between humility and humiliation. The first one is what I do myself, and the second one is what is done to me because of the issue of pride in my life. “Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 VOICE)
When we walk in pride, we open the door for humiliation. But when we humble ourselves in our very spirit and soul, we begin to walk in a way that allows God to honor us. This is totally mind-boggling and amazing!
Walking in humility is learning how to allow God’s Spirit living inside of me to be in charge, making sure my soul and my body (my own thoughts, will, emotions, and desires) are lined up under my spirit. It is living a spiritually balanced life. And it is done by living a life of submission, dying to my own wants and desires, and coming alive to His wants and desires for me (which I think we can all agree, is always better.)
Our church is in a twenty day consecration period of prayer and fasting. I would like to share with you what was written for day seventeen, as a great example of someone who was honored as he humbled himself before Jesus.
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” – Matthew 17:14-16
What a great example of humility: this man approached Jesus and knelt before Him in the midst of a crowd. As the father approached, he believed that Jesus would bring his son relief. But even in his belief, his approach was humble and submitted to what Christ would choose to do.
Looking further into the story, we find the father was also persistent and resisted taking offense. Though the disciples were not able to help him, he set aside his temporary disappointment in their failure and continued to seek after Jesus – the solution to his circumstance, the source of relief through his trial.
Being humble before God is realizing our need of Him, submitting to His will, pursuing Him, and being confident the outcome will occur in God’s perfect timing.
Be encouraged that approaching God with a heart of humility will always position you to find relief in Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to humble yourself before God, even in the presence of others. Though offenses and disappointments may come, continue in your pursuit of Jesus. You may not get relief right away, but know this: God is never late and His solution is always perfect!
Another great example in the Bible of someone God honored, because of humbling himself, is Daniel. In Daniel 10:12 we read the words of an angel who appeared to him. “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” (NIV)
All through the scriptures, we see that whenever a person or a nation made the choice to humble themselves before God, God honored them and moved on their behalf. This is another great reason to learn how to humble ourselves.
It is all based on what is in our heart. And I am ashamed to admit it, but way too often I am good at faking it, looking all humble on the outside, but having prideful and arrogant thoughts on the inside. And that is where it counts…on the inside where God sees…and I don’t think I am the only one.
Holy Spirit, help us. We know we need to humble ourselves, but we need You to give us the desire, and to point out to us our prideful actions and thoughts, so we can crucify and die to our ugly pride, and humble ourselves so that we live in a greater measure of Your grace (Your Divine power, and enablement). In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus, Amen.