But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6
This afternoon I listened to part of an online service that featured the song, “Christ is Enough for Me.” The song borrows a few lines from an older song –
I have decided to follow Jesus.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back. No turning back.
That’s the exact point of James’ verse above, but why does God oppose the proud? We leave Him no choice when we fail to humble ourselves before Him. When we focus on the world around us instead of Christ, it is we who are opposing God – whether we are openly defiant or passive in our opposition.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). And the root of our pride originates from our earliest days on earth when a proud person listened carefully to the question, “Did God actually say….?” (Genesis 3: 1). A proud person says in his heart that he knows better than God and so he disregards the boundaries set by God. The proud person determines that he can earn God’s favor on his own terms.
But, those who humble themselves receive God’s grace. In response, we say yes to God’s plan for our lives. A humble response reveals our own personal depravity – our inability to live life to the fullest on our own.
I remind others of this verse on a pretty regular basis –
“…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
This is a verse that resonates with me and I think fits nicely into James’ message here. The person who humbles himself before God, turns away from his own way of living by recognizing his way comes up short. The person who shows humility looks forward to the promise of life in Christ.
Today is a new day. Yesterday is history. Let’s determine in our hearts to live this day submitted to God in every aspect of the day.