God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6b
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. James 4:10
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name. Philippians 2:5-9
Being exalted, or lifted up by God, comes with a price! It is called humility. Humility is not a natural trait found in human flesh. Just look around. People long to have the best position, they want to be first in a long line, or they want to be noticed for their knowledge, looks, or possessions. A child will dive in for the biggest cookie or fight over the "best" toy; which is usually the one held by another child. And we have the tendency to be childish in our ways.
When Jesus said that we are to "become as little children" in Matthew 18:3, He was speaking of becoming childlike in the sense that children are trusting, unpretentious, and teachable. Jesus called a little child to Him and the child humbly obeyed. This little child was set down in the midst of Jesus' disciples and made an example of how to enter into heaven. This child was not intimidated or fearful, he immediately did exactly as Jesus said. How often can we say that we did exactly as Jesus said, the moment He told us to do it? I'm sorry to say, I have fallen short here. I have a tendency to question God. "Was that REALLY You?" When I know good and well that it was. Then I have opened the door to doubt and I hesitate in obeying Him. Every now and then, I'm ashamed to say, I talk myself out of obeying which means I miss out on the blessing.
In Matthew 18:4 Jesus goes on to say, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." As I meditated on this scripture, others began to come to my mind. Such as:
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov.16:18
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly (humble) is wisdom. Prov. 11:12
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; and before honor is humility. Prov. 18:12
A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. Prov. 29:23
It is better to humble ourselves than to stand in our foolish pride. Therefore God teaches us humility, often by the things we suffer. When we attempt to place anything before God, it won't be long before we stumble right over top of it and land on our faces. Yet, if we begin on our face before God, He stands us on our feet and we will not fall. Those things we look at as "small decisions" that we can "handle on our own" are often the very things that cause us grief in the end. God will use our situations, wrong choices, and even other people to bring us to a place of humility before Him.
Humility crucifies the flesh and causes us to decrease so that Christ may increase in us. Satan fell because of pride. He thought to exalt himself over God and all that God created. God doesn't want us to fall so He teaches us humility. I have to wonder if that is why God gave us free choice. Satan and the fallen angels were given free choice. And their fall was a long way down from where they tried to exalt themselves.
Perhaps God created human beings to fall BEFORE He lifted them up into the heavens. He decided to allow
sin, evil, pride, and disobedience to tempt us here on this earth so that we can experience the effects in the flesh. God is allowing us to see the result of satan's reign here and now. We see the evil all around us and how the darkness is intensifying. We are touched by sickness and death. There is famine and pestilence, earthquakes and floods. There is abject poverty all over the world. People are being sold into slavery, young children are abducted or sold and forced into prostitution. Satan is an evil taskmaster.
We have already had "a taste of hell" here on earth. We know by experience what it feels like to be separated from God. However, when we are able to be with Him forever where He is, we will never want to turn away from Him. Instead we will have already chosen to give Him ALL the glory, honor, and praise due His Name.
One man, Adam, made the choice for all humanity to suffer the curse of sin. Adam literally sold us into sin by his disobedience to God. Perhaps this was a lesson to us that we should NOT, EVER follow a man. Then came Jesus. He redeemed us. He paid the price with His life. He shed His own blood to purchase us back from the devil. He humbled Himself when He came to this earth. The King of Glory was born in a stable and laid in a manger. His parents were poor. His friends were considered low-life. He ate with the sinners and walked among those who knew their need for Him. He chose fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and the demon possessed. It was the poor and humble who recognized Him as the Son of God.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:28 that He did not come to be ministered to (served), but to minister (serve) and to give His life as a ransom for many. He also said in Matt. 20:16 that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. And again in Matt. 23:11-12, He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (lifted up). We are told not to think of ourselves more highly than we should, to prefer others before ourselves, and to condescend, or lower ourselves, and be humble toward others. We are to forgive others, even if they were wrong. We are to always bless others with our words, even if they turn and curse us. (Romans 12) These are examples of humility. This is how the last become first.
I thank You, Father that You chastise those whom You love. I know You love me as You have allowed me to be humbled before you.
Still Dwelling In Him