Humility Before Exaltation


We have already learned from Christ’s life that humility is a product of suffering. Here’s another lesson: humility comes before exaltation.

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. (Hebrews 2:5-8)

Most of Hebrews 2 is about one of the absolutely indispensable characteristics needed in the Christian life: humility. Christ models humility for us. If you don’t have humility—the capacity first to submit yourself to God, then to submit yourself to the difficult circumstances of life—you will not grow. You will always be exerting pride, and every step of pride will be a step backward, spiritually.

The opposite is also true. Every good step you’ve made in your spiritual life has involved an aspect of humility. To move forward, you’ve had to humble yourself and say, I can’t handle this. This is too much for me. God, I need You. I need Your grace, and Your forgiveness. Lord, I need to learn through this. It’s not easy for me. I could focus on others, but I want what You have for me. Every step forward is a step of humility.

We have already learned from Christ’s life that humility is a product of suffering. Here’s another lesson: humility comes before exaltation. We live in a world that wants to be on top —first and immediately. Where’s the fast track? I want to be on it! The Bible does say God has exaltation in mind for His children. But before exaltation comes humility. Behind the doorway of humility, God has many good things in store.

Your Bible may indicate that Hebrews 2:6-8 is a quote from Psalm 8:4-6. The key idea is the question: “What is man, that you are mindful of him?” The term man means mankind, as in, What is humanity, that You are mindful of them? I think that’s a fair question. Have you ever thought about your place in human history? I’m sorry to say it’s not very significant. Other places in Scripture also make this point. Abraham admitted, “I who am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27). In Psalm 22, David said, “I am a worm” (v.6). And Job said, “Man . . . is few of days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Each of these men discovered the first step in humility that leads to exaltation —an honest realization of their insignificance apart from God.

Every moment of Jesus’ life serves as the ultimate example of humility for us. “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10)


  • What would I honestly report as the state of humility in my life right now?
  • In what areas or situations do I know I need to develop a deeper sense of humility? 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and all the promises that You have good plans and blessings in store for us. And thank You for reminding me that the door of humility stands between me and all You have for me. Lead me in the way of submission to You and submission to the circumstances You bring into my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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