Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Individuals in the world like to think that the world circles around themselves. Many believe that they are the most important person around. Workers in a job often feel as thought they are indispensable to a company, because they are so important. Leaders often act as though they are the greatest thing on the earth.
This type of belief and action is learned as a child. Little children are known for acting as though they deserve everything. And many parents give them everything they want, building up their pride. Schools teach children that they are to be proud of who they are and what they are.
Acting like this is following the ways of the devil. He was proud and was forced out of heaven. He tried to make himself more than who he was before God.
God is not looking for people who are proud. When a person is proud of himself, it is all about himself and what he can do without God or others. There is no love for other people and especially no love for their enemies, because it is not about others.
James tells the people to humble themselves before God. That is to put oneself into God’s hands, knowing that one cannot do it himself. This is not bashing oneself, but trusting in God’s abilities, powers, and ways to live life. It is allowing God to control the life of a person, not the person controlling his own life.
When a believer humbles himself before God, it gives God the ability to do great things in and through that person. It is giving God absolute control because it is not about self anymore. One can begin to really love his enemies and reach out to those in need. It gives the ability to be the witness God wants hi to be.
You may or may not be a proud person who is rude, but take a look at your life. Is there any area of your life where it is all about you?
Focus your life and abilities on God. Lean on Him for everything. Give Him the glory for all the good things in your life. Do not take it for yourself.
As you do this God can work greater things through you in this world. He will lift you up.
I pray today that you will trust God’s abilities and not your own; that you will put God first in your life; that your life will be a mirror of Jesus; that you will be humble before God and others; and that you will see God’s hand lifting you up in His ways.
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
Jesus just told the people that He came for the purpose to die. Jesus is starting to talk about what that will mean. Now He tells them how He will die. It will be done by a hanging on a cross. With this information, Jesus tells them that as He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself.
Over the history of the Roman Empire thousands of people had been hung on a cross. When Jesus died on the cross it was not something new, it was a common practice. Yet, when Jesus was hung on the cross there was something different.
This difference is that Jesus did not stay there, and now He draws men and women to Himself. His purpose to die on that cross was to save every person from their sins. He wanted to die in order to do that. If He had not died, Jesus would never have been able to draw any person to Himself. He would not have been able to offer any salvation.
Along with being lifted up on the cross, Jesus needs to be lifted up in your life. This means you need to talk about Him. You need to honor Him. You need to exemplify Him. Jesus needs to be the center of your life. When people look at you, they need to see Jesus.
This is the second type of lifting up of Jesus. When you lift Jesus up in your life, He is seen by the world and others will be drawn to Him. Even today, nearly 2,000 years later, Jesus is still drawing men and women to Himself.
Look at every Easter and Christmas season. The world is talking about Jesus. Many are against Him, but they are still fascinated by Him. Others are accepting Jesus. Lives are still being changed.
It does not have to be just during Easter and Christmas that you talk about Jesus. It needs to be daily that you lift Him up before the world. Do not just mention God daily. Talk about Jesus directly to and around others. Give Jesus a chance to draw others to Himself. He will.
I pray today that you will lift Jesus up in your life; that God will give you the words and strength to lift Jesus up; that Jesus will draw others to Himself through you; and that you will know what Jesus has done for you in dying on the cross for you.
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
Men and women like to be exalted, to be lifted up, praised, and honored. It will make them feel like they have done something good or of great value.
There is nothing wrong in getting honored for something you have done. The problem comes in when you seek that honor yourself.
Very often people place themselves in a position of honor in order to receive that praise. They are telling people to look at them and see what they have done. These people are full of pride.
Pride tells everyone to look at me and lift me up. In Proverbs, you are told that pride comes right before a fall. Now, Jesus is stating the same thing. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
To be humbled, is to be put down, put into your place. No matter who you are, you are not as high or great as you may think you are. If you climb up on a pedestal, remember that now you are higher and have farther to fall.
Every person puts on their pants the same way, one leg at a time. This makes you no different from anyone else. Everyone also has been given the breath of life by God. Without God no one can do anything. Without God you are nothing.
Keeping this in mind, you must then humble yourself. Be real with yourself and with others. You may be doing great things, but it is because God has allowed you to and given you that ability. It is not because you are great.
Be willing to be the low man on the totem pole or ladder. God will lift you up in His time. Jesus said whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Just as Joseph was lifted up to the position of second in command of Egypt, so God may lift you up in the right time.
Don’t lift yourself up, it is a long fall down. Let God lift you up and you will rise and stay much higher. Jesus humbled Himself by dying on the cross, can you do any less?
I pray today that you will let God use you as a servant to others; that you will not lift yourself up, but let God honor you; that your heart will not be filled with pride; that you will keep yourself humble before God and others; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.