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.:. humble before God

Fran Woods

Scripture is replete with injunctions to humble ourselves before God. Here are a few thoughts from two of these scriptures.

James 4:7, 8: “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”

1 Peter 5:6, 7: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.”

The verse preceding James 4:7 says, “God sets himself against the proud, but shows favor to the humble” and is a quote from Proverbs 3:34.

The verse preceding 1 Peter 5:6 is the very same verse quoted from Proverbs.

In James, the context is of the evil desires warring within us that cause us to be at war with one another. James calls us adulterers because of our friendship with the world, our quarreling and fighting, our scheming, our jealousy, our lives motivated by pleasure. He calls us adulterers because the things he lists are what come between us and God and they take away our affection for Him. Elsewhere, Scripture describes God as a jealous lover. James relates the evil desires warring within us to pride. To be as James described in 5:1-5 is to be proud and arrogant and not a friend of God. Phew! What a strong statement James makes. His letter is written to Christians and his call is to humble ourselves before God, first and foremost. The only way to resist the devil is from that position of humility before God. The closer we come to God the clearer our view is. We need to wash our hands and purify our hearts, we need to weep, to grieve, to experience deep true sorrow.

James goes on to say, “When you bow down before the LORD and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor” (v 10). It seems that our part is to bow down, to humble ourselves, to confess our pride, our arrogance, and our sinful selfish responses to those around us. Our part is to draw near to God, to seek after Him with our whole heart, unreservedly and without any ulterior motives or hidden agendas.

God will not be manipulated by us. He knows every game there is and then some. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He desires a full open love relationship unclouded by sin, by lies, by masks, or by games on our part.

In the Peter passage, Peter is speaking particularly to the elders in the churches, to those who are the shepherds of the flock. However, I believe, what he says is also for the flock. Again we have the injunction to humble ourselves before God and to leave our being elevated (or otherwise) to Him. I find it interesting that the second half of the verse addresses worries and cares. It seems there may be a link between the two parts of the verse. I wonder if we suffer from worry and care when we attempt to build ourselves up and make ourselves look good in the eyes of others (and, perhaps, even to make ourselves look good to ourselves).

Some other related verses to ponder:

Psalm 131:1-3 talks of being still and quiet as a small child with its mother – not haughty, not proud – in a place of peace and quiet and unconcerned about great matters.

Proverbs 29:23 says “…pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”

And finally for this musing, Micah 6:8 says “…the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Bless you as you think about these things.

Copyright 2003 Fran Woods


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