Humility; February 20, 2023

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

These 10 verses contain some very famous truths. The section about asking and receiving in verses 2-3 is often quoted, as well as the words about being a friend of the world that follow. I couldn’t begin to say how many times I’ve quoted verse 7, about submitting to God and resisting the devil. However, thinking about it, this verse seems to encapsulate it all. The devil’s sin was pride, and that was what he used to tempt Eve and Adam with her. The way to counter pride is through intentional humility. This isn’t the same as a poor self-image. Rather, it is recognizing that our value and our abilities come from the God who imparted them to us. He must value us very highly to have sent His Son to die to redeem us! However, that value is imparted by Him, not something that we generated on our own. We say that objects are valuable, but if no one wants to purchase them, their “value” is meaningless. That is easily seen in the area of art. Some artwork is sold for astronomical prices, when I wouldn’t want it cluttering up my house! It is only when something is desired that it becomes “valuable.” That applies very broadly. There is a Japanese proverb that says that only the ill understand health. We tend not to recognize value in something until we lose it. Humbling ourselves before the Lord is acknowledging that we have a very shaky grasp of value and purpose, and submitting everything to the only One who genuinely understands it all. When we come right down to it, it is a mystery why He would value individual humans at all, but it is evident that He does. The wisest thing is to let our pride be replaced with gratitude for God’s incredible grace.

As I have written frequently, I was almost destroyed by pride. Intellectual pride, spiritual pride, I thought I was “a cut above.” That is so foolish! God has shown me I have no “high horse” from which to look down on anyone. That’s not to say that His gifts to me aren’t real, and that I’m not to be a good steward of them; quite the contrary. However, it does mean that those gifts don’t make me any more valuable than someone with entirely different gifts, which gifts might be invisible to me. Place and position aren’t to be issues for me, but rather availability to my Lord to fulfill His purposes. Whatever my IQ, comparing my understanding to that of God is worse than comparing an ant to Einstein.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace and mercy toward me. Had it been up to me, I would have squashed me like a loathsome bug a long time ago! Thank You for the privilege of serving You, of seeing You work through me, hearing You speak through me. May I never forget that the value comes from it being You, and not from the tool You are using. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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