God Honors Humility
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6b
Have you ever read James 4:6-10 and noticed the bookend scriptures (verses 6 and 10) both mention humility? Why is basically the same verse mentioned twice within 5 verses of each other? The 2 verses are actually very different. James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So not only will God not teach you His ways (Psalm 25:9), He will actually resist you if you do not humble yourself. But what I want you to notice is that He gives grace to the humble. As we humble ourselves, we will obtain grace, unmerited favor. However, this verse does not refer to just us (Believers). Humility is a characteristic that anyone can have, whether they are a Christian or not. Most of God’s principles apply to everyone. The power of the tongue works for believers and non-believers (Proverbs 18:21). This is why Matthew 5:45b says, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” So if ANYONE humbles themselves to their boss, they will obtain favor.
Now let’s look at James 4:10. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The only way we can be humble in the sight of the Lord is to be on His path. 1 Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” If we are not on His path, His face is against us (Isaiah 59:2). So James 4:10 is referring to someone walking out God’s plan for their lives. This verse is not talking about unbelievers. Humility will cause an unbeliever to receive favor (James 4:6), but a believer will receive favor and be exalted (James 4:10) as was the case with Jesus. Philippians 2:8-9 says, “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” Either way, everyone will benefit from humbling themselves. If we do not humble ourselves, we will end up being humbled by our own behavior (Matthew 23:12).
Humility Brings Exaltation
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
Picture your life as an empty, latex balloon. Every day you have two options of what you are going to fill your life / balloon with:
Option A: You can choose to fill it with your own desires, the cares of this world, and “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—[which] is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). OR
Option B: You can humble yourself, crucify your fleshly desires (Galatians 5:24), “cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), be obedient to God’s Word (Joshua 1:8), and be filled with the supernatural power of God.
Option A is like filling up your latex balloon with water. Your life is now a water balloon. You are carrying the weight of the world. You can exalt yourself and throw your balloon up into the air, but the weight of the world will bring you back down. You will experience a fall which will burst your balloon. You will be humbled, or brought low (Matthew 23:12 Part A). Option B is like filling up your latex balloon with helium. You are humbling yourself by not filling up your balloon yourself with your passions and desires. Instead you are letting God fill up your balloon. The major difference in this analogy is that in Option B your balloon is being filled with the power of God / helium, which carries minimal weight for His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). This power also exalts you, or lifts you up (Matthew 23:12 Part B). There is no need for you to exalt yourself. However, you must remember that you cannot be double-minded or lukewarm in this process (James 1:8 and Revelations 3:15-16). You cannot love the world and God (1 John 2:15). If you add water to a helium balloon it will not be exalted, it will fall to the ground. So make sure to remove all forms of sin from your life / balloon. Humble yourself and God will exalt you. You will not be brought low, but exalted to shine as a light and testimony of what God has done in your life (Matthew 5:14-16).