James 4:10 (NIV)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Humility is one of the primary marks of an authentic Christian, and it is repeated throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. The Psalmist says, “One who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure" (Ps. 101:5), while James reminds us that, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (4:6). I think John the Baptist put it most succinctly when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).
In the original Greek, the word for humble in today’s passage is “tapeinoo” and it is in the passive voice, meaning, you allow yourself to be humbled or placed in a low position by an outside force, which in this case, is God. It is a willing submission to a greater authority, and in our sinful nature, none of us finds that easy to do… even when it comes to a Holy God.
We humble ourselves when we admit there is nothing we can do about our sin problem. We humble ourselves when we admit our total depravity before a Holy God. We humble ourselves when we hold our tongue, when we choose not to repay evil with evil, when we turn the other cheek, when we bless those who dislike us, when we seek the counsel of more mature believers, and when we pay more attention to the log in our own eye than the speck in someone else’s.
Of course, the ultimate example of humility can be found in Christ Himself, who submitted to His Father’s will and left the glory of Heaven to live as a man and die a criminal’s death at the hands of the very people He came to save (Phil. 2:8). Humility places you in a position where God can use you and bless you whereas pride will cause Him to oppose you. The choice is yours.
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