Welcome to DAY 19 of our online Bible study on James!
— Read: James 4:13-17 —
It’s easy to convince myself that I have attained humility — freedom from pride and arrogance. But the ugly truth comes out when someone mischaracterizes me, accuses me, snubs me, or maligns me. Suddenly there rises within me an overwhelming desire to defend and exalt myself while tearing down the one who has dared to hurt me. I may even excuse my actions and words as righteous indignation.
No matter how I justify this tendency, it just doesn’t measure up to the plumb line set my Jesus Himself.
In the book of Philippians we are told to have the same humble mindset that Jesus had. Although He was fully God, He didn’t spend His days on this earth demanding His rights or demanding respect. Instead, He spent His days serving mankind and submitting Himself to the will of the Father, even though it meant His eventual death on the cross.
Humility is a big deal to God and we see that repeatedly in the book of James. He refers to it six times throughout his short book. In James 4:7-12, James follows his shocking statement in verse six, in which he writes that God actually opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, by telling us what humility looks like.
Humility looks like submission to God and His ways.
James then tells us to resist the devil and promises that Satan will flee from us. A humble heart that is wholly submitted and surrendered to God may be the Christian’s most overlooked weapon of spiritual warfare.
Humility looks like being honest about the condition of our own heart. James encourages us to draw close to God (4:8-9). In that drawing close, James indicates that the true condition of our divided and disloyal hearts will be exposed. Yet, he comforts us with the promise that God, in His grace and mercy, will draw close to us as we draw close to Him with an open, honest, and humble heart.
Humility is a choice we make to leave our rights, our reputation, and our desire for significance in God’s hands. It’s just like the Holy Spirit to inspire James to include a little encouragement for us in the middle of his discourse on humility. Humble yourselves, he says, and God will exalt you.
Humility means we do not malign, judge, or criticize others. James admonishes us to leave the judging in the hands of the only righteous Judge (4:11-12). Prideful arrogance is what makes me think I have the right to go around pointing out the flaws I see in others, usually while ignoring my own shortcomings.
Jesus, our Humble King, is our example. Let us, His followers, choose to walk in the humility of Christ.
— Diving Deeper —
Why is humility so necessary when we draw close to God?
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