“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
See James 4:6
Growing up, we are taught to be the best. In grade school, at the end of the year, certificates and awards are handed out to the overachieving pudding-cup people. In middle school, our social life turns toward having the prettiest girlfriend or most athletic boyfriend. We are pushed to have the best.
Sports and activities–which you are also driven to be the best at by coaches, teachers, students, and parents–these things start to take off as a new goal.
“BE THE BEST! DON’T BE AT THE BOTTOM!”
For sports, you want to be cheered for at the games and included as an important member of the team. So you begin to practice your heart out so that you can be good in the games–so that you can…be the best.
We are driven to be the best! Not be lowly, not be humble, but elite! For some, it’s band or school clubs, but in junior high the notion of being the “top person” begins to take precedent. However, high school takes it to a whole new level. You are nudged to be the stud athlete or the most beautiful girl. Grades? Forget about it. The pressure to get all A’s is astronomical! WE ARE DRIVEN TO BE AT THE TOP! Not the bottom, but better than the rest!
But it doesn’t end there. College is simply high school without teachers and parents pressuring you. Instead, it’s yourself. The school doesn’t care if you show up or not, you’ll just have to keep paying them if you fail. So the pressure to be the best is on you.
After college, the job market is the most severe when it comes to being the best!
“Make the most money!”
“Get the biggest house!”
“Drive the best car!”
“Take awesome vacations!”
“Have big bank accounts!”
“MAKE. MORE. MONEY!”
“DO. MORE. THINGS!”
Oh, and if you decide to go into entrepreneurship, the gut-wrenching pressure from the world to be the very best is monumental!
“Be on top or don’t have a business, period!”
Throughout our lifetime, there is so much pressure to be the best, to be better than others. From the time we’re just little kids our minds are molded toward high achievement. And don’t even get me started on the pressure that comes from the grace-confused Christians. That is, to be “the best” like them.
With all this pressure to not be last–to not be humble–let me get to my point: It’s no wonder so many people have a difficult time–first, believing in Jesus–and second, living Him out. Why would I say that? Because the entire premise of Christianity is based on humbling yourself.
Humility is Christianity 101, the entry-level course. God hands out grace to humble people–not proud people (see James 4:6). People who understand they need Jesus’ forgiveness because they are sinners, and then people who know they are no longer sinners but saints once they have accepted His free forgiveness by way of faith. It takes severe humility to admit you are spiritually perfect, especially when you’ve been taught that you’re a no-good-for-nothing rotten sinner.
Friend, once you believe Jesus has forgiven you, you become immersed in a supernatural amniotic sac of grace and you’ll never be able to escape. Yes, that sounds strange, but grace is literally your lifeline, your sustenance, and your everything as God’s child–and I know what literally means. You cannot live without grace, and you won’t, God promises (see Romans 3:24, 5:20, 6:14, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12,16, Titus 2:11-12, Acts 15:11, Hebrews 4:16).
Why should we humble ourselves? We should humble ourselves because it’s the only way to receive God’s Spirit–and we receive His Spirit once, in full (see Romans 6:6-7,10, 8:9, Hebrews 10:10). We should humble ourselves because it’s the only way to allow God’s Spirit to live through us after we receive Him! (See James 1:22, John 14:15, 1 John 3:18). We should humble our old mindsets to new mindsets given to us by God, and through action those new mindsets come to life! (See Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8).
Jesus said that if we never change and become like a little child, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 18:3). Little kids are humble enough to believe, and that’s what it takes to become a Christian.
Humbling ourselves, really, is simply being ourselves as saints. True humility is confident even when someone doesn’t appear to be confident on the outside. True humility is saying, “I’m not above this. I can forgive the unforgivable. I can love the unlovable. I can do all things through Christ, He strengthens me.”
That’s humility! Humbling ourselves is simply changing our habits, choices, and lifestyles to match up with the authenticity of our heaven-ready spirits!
So today, my friends, know this: Being humble is a courageous thing! Being arrogant, stuck in self-righteousness and unbelief? That’s easy. Humility is hard! But only in our thinking. It’s simple and natural once we get our new spirit from the moment we first believe. Truth be told, allowing Christ to live through you is the greatest thing you could ever do! This is where your new confidence begins! This is where you learn your value! This is where you get a backbone! This is where you learn how to overcome evil with good, and hate with love! Why not humble yourself today? Just say, “Jesus, I’m not sure if I’m ready, but let’s do this,” and you’re off!
A prayer for you: God I want to thank you today for knocking the stool of pride out from under me. It was a good thing. And although I fought you for so long in my mindsets and habits, I want to thank you for never giving up on me. Your grace kept me secure, and you knew who I was all along, your son. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. HUMBLE THEM! SHOW THEM WHAT TRUE HUMILITY IS! SHOW THEM WHAT REAL STRENGTH IS! Do them like you did me. Remove everything and everyone that would keep them from knowing Jesus on the deepest level possible. They might not know it now, but this will be the best thing that ever happened to them! Thank you for keeping us safe and comforting us as we grow in humility each day. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!