Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
It’s easy to get the wrong idea about humility in the Bible. People think God wants to make us humble. Wrong! He wants to glorify us – His way, with His glory. When we elevate ourselves, we get the wrong glitz. We gum up the works – interfering with God’s glorious plans. Take the famous scripture about seats at feasts (Luke 14:8-11):
8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10“But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honour in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
God’s lessons on humility do not just make us humble. They teach us 1) how to avoid humiliation and 2) how to get properly exalted. He is saying don’t do it yourself. Trust Me. Be patient. I will lift you up. I will give you the real deal!
After all, what is more humiliating than to be caught blowing your own horn, attention seeking, showing off? You’re a looser from the start. Look at me. I’m important! No you’re not, you’re an arrogant fool!
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honour” (Proverbs 29:23 NIV). “You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty” (Psalm 18:27 NIV), etc. The Bible is filled with a clear message and it is not just “be humble” but “let Me bring you honour”.
God wants to celebrate us, to let us know how important we are – to Him. We become celebrities in His eyes…not the public’s. (“The public” is man’s (or Satan’s) creation. Media-made celebrities need constant security. The pressure on them is relentless. They are surrounded by sycophants. They get addicted to alcohol and drugs. Their fame is deadly: the same public that worships them also wants to see them die. And they can’t complain because they asked for it.)
Unlike media glamour, God’s glory is safe, secure and superlative. Public popularity is a cheap substitute for what God bestows on those who humble themselves and celebrate Him. When we celebrate God, He celebrates us! We enter His hall of fame to get His awards every day. The more glory we give Him, the more He makes us shine. Fame is fatal but grace is glorious. I belong to the King. Am I over the top? No, I’m under His wing. Come fly with me.