Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
We’ve all heard it…James 4:10. A highly quoted and noted verse. As is the case with many well known verses, we skim over them thinking our spirits have already soaked up every ounce of God breathed wisdom they can offer. But I can’t get the verse out of my mind, so much so it has haunted me for the better part of a year.
I tell God that I get it…be humble. But do I really get it? Do I really get humility? Or am I confusing it with self-abasement and false humility. Maybe I don’t confuse it, but I dismiss it as nothing more than a word, denying the power of a humble servant heart and the impact it could have on my relationship with the Lord.
When you look at James Chapter 4 in its entirety there really is much more to it than just verse 10. Verses 1-10 reveal a story, a revelation even. The chapter opens discussing conflict. Why we engage in conflict and how it can be related to wanting what other people have.
I didn’t have this problem…right? I am happy with my car, house, and such…but it seems my jealousy existed on a higher plane. At times I grew jealous of others relationships with God – why did it seem stronger than mine? I even found myself jealous about the spiritual gifts they had or the opportunities God gave them.
I didn’t physically wage war with them, but mentally I start pulling hair and dragging them to the ground. And what was the consequence? They didn’t suffer…but I sure did.
I love what James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Does it get any worse than likening an obsession with what others have to adultery? Cheating on God himself with thoughts of what we want and what we think we need – bashing Him for what He hasn’t given to us and refusing to realize there is a reason.
James 4:2 tells us we have not because we ask not, but other times we have not because we ask with wrong motives…
So what do we do when we ask for what someone else has, He says no, and we are consumed with frustration and jealousy? We readily accept His invitation to humility.
Humility chooses to trust He knows best withholds no good thing from His children. Humility chooses to believe He keeps His promises. Humility trusts His timing-His seasons and humility chooses to let go of what we want and trade it for what we already have…a God who is jealous for us. Who wants all of us.
Perhaps James 4:7-10 MSG version says it best…”So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”
And there it is…your open invitation from Him into the beauty of true humility…