February 16

Every Reason to Be Humble, Part 1

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Rom. 12:16b Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Social science research demonstrates that most people think they are better (more ethical, industrious, etc.) than average. It sounds like Garrison Keillor, who reminds us regularly that in Lake Wobegon, “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” That’s statistically impossible, but funny. It’s part of our fallen nature as a race that we don’t, can’t actually, view ourselves (or our children) correctly.

We know that humility is an attribute of being a Christian. But why is humbling ourselves so important—to God and for us? First and most importantly, it’s because God says we should do it. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” If we love Him, we will do that, for that reason alone.

Also, it’s part of His design for us to be closer to Him. We often go through periods where we feel that He is distant. That may be for many reasons, but one might be because there is an area where we need to humble ourselves. Isaiah 57:15 tells us that God “dwell[s] in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Pastor and theologian Douglas Wilson says it this way: “The God who dwells on high is the one who dwells with the man who is low.” If God dwells with the one who takes the low place, then isn’t that the place we want to be?

Related to bringing us closer to God is the idea that humility often clears things up. Galatians 6:3 says, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Pride deceives; it takes us out of reality. Humility restores us to reality, bringing light and understanding to such issues of life as sin, love, grace and mercy. The more we humble ourselves, the more we know God and understand ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your reminders to stay humble. Please don’t allow me to stray into deception and move to a place where we are far apart. Remind me by Your Spirit of who I am and who You are. Thank you that we have every reason to be humble.