Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.James 4:10(NASB)
Not only is salvation given to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as a free gift of God's grace, but His ongoing favour is readily available to every believer, as we journey along the path of life.
Having been born again of the Spirit, we are called to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and we also have a biblical responsibility to walk in His ways and humble ourselves before His face, as outlined in the epistle of James.
James reminds us of an important biblical principle that is found throughout the pages of Scripture: "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." The Lord withstands self-important, arrogant men, but supplies His sufficient grace to those that are meek and lowly of heart.
John the Baptist demonstrated humility of heart when he cried out, "He must increase and I must decrease," and in like manner, we should all be ready and willing to carry out this conditional directive from James: "If we humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, He will lift us up and exalt us."
In 2 Chronicles, we read that humbling oneself before God is linked with earnest prayer, seeking God's face, and turning from every wicked way, for humbling oneself before the Lord, enables the grace of God to flow freely into our hearts and breathes spiritual revival into our soul.
James lays out his criteria on living a humble life that honours the Lord in the fourth chapter of his epistle. He lists a series of commands that will not only keep us in close fellowship with God, but encourages us towards humility of heart and gentleness of spirit.
We are instructed to submit to God, with a promise that when we resist the devil, he will flee from us. We are told that if we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to each one of us, and we are directed to be single-minded men and women and not to be tossed about by every wind of doctrine.
We are exhorted to have clean hands and a pure heart, and we are to be people who hate evil and grieve over sin so that we can receive His gracious comfort and be a channel of God's solace to others.
James calls every one of us to live righteously before God. He encourages us to love mercy and presents us in this verse with a beautiful, conditional promise: "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
Humility is a fruit of the Spirit that should be exhibited in every life that lives godly in Christ Jesus, but there is much misunderstanding about biblical humility and what it means to humble one's self before the Lord.
Humility is not disliking who you are or demeaning yourself in front of others. It is not a deliberate exhibition of self-humbling in order to get others to applaud your achievements, nor is it a wringing of hands or a constant declaration that you are a very very 'umble' person!
Humility is not generated by human effort or manufactured by emotions. It can't be acquired through a strict training programme, learned from a college course, or acquired by watching a YouTube video. True humility is a fruit of the Spirit that buds and blossoms in the heart of someone who is submitted to God, walking in spirit and truth, growing in grace, and maturing in the Christian faith.
The one who truly humbles himself in the sight of God is the one who makes himself lowly of heart before the Lord, by admitting the greatness of our God and acknowledging His magnificent majesty. It is confessing that without the Lord we can do nothing. It is trusting Him in all things and relying on Him to carry out the good work that He has prepared for us to do in His power and for His ultimate glory.
May the desire of our heart be to apply all the important biblical principles that James has so carefully laid out in this passage, and may we live in the way that Lord requires of all His children. May we submit to God and single-mindedly draw close to Him and humble ourselves in His presence, for His greater glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have so clearly set out the criteria for Your children to humble ourselves before Your throne of grace. Thank You for the promise that when I am ready and willing to humble myself before You, then in Your grace You will lift me up and set my feet on the Rock of my salvation. Keep my heart humble before You and my eyes fixed on You. In Jesus' name, AMEN.