Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
— James 4:10
There is great spiritual power released from God to those who humble themselves before Him. God lifts up the lowly and looks with favor on the contrite in spirit (Isaiah 66:2). As American Christians, we stand in great need of humbling ourselves before God.
How do we know this to be true? The declining state of the church in America indicates most likely that we are not humbling ourselves before God as we ought. When we see problems like divisions and spiritual impotence of unanswered prayers – just as the church experienced to which James wrote – we can recognize that we’re likely proud in God’s sight (James 4:1-5). Thankfully, there is a clear solution. We can humble ourselves before God, and He will again exalt us before Him, just as James prescribed and promised in James 4:6-10.
However, many Christians do not think about our need to humble ourselves before God. When the subject of humility comes up, believers immediately and sometimes exclusively think about humility towards others, which is important. But humility starts with our demonstrable submission to God first, and then to others, just as the Lord Jesus modeled.
There is another obstacle to true humility before God: many Christians take it for granted that they are adequately humble before God. Just because we have confessed faith in Christ does not mean that we are walking humbly with God. God’s word commands us as Christians to humble ourselves before Him. Active steps must be taken to cultivate and maintain humility before God. Humility is not something that just happens. Unless we’re pursuing humility before God, it’s likely that spiritual pride lurks in our relationship with Him.
We can humble ourselves before God in a few ways, but one of the most powerful ways is through fasting. David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting” (Psalm 69:10). The American church is not known for the practice of fasting, and thus it’s no wonder that God would consider us proud. But praise God that He has given us an easy means of cutting off spiritual pride and choosing to humble ourselves; we can simply choose to go without food for a time. And it’s not merely an outward act; it has a wonderful spiritual effect on our very souls. (Please join us for a time of fasting August 16-29, 2021, https://www.dayandnight.org/fast.)
Let’s pray that humility would become a hallmark for American Christians, and that fasting would again become a regular practice of all Christians just as Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-18). If we will humble ourselves before Him, the Father will exalt us and His Spirit’s power will fill us and strengthen our churches and our mission more than we can imagine.
Father, impress upon all Your people the need we have to walk humbly with You. We know that You call us friends, but You also call us servants. Do not let us have such a casual relationship with You that we forget that You are a God to be feared and served and honored by humble bond-servants. Thank You that You are such a gracious Father that You lift up Your servants and exalt us when we choose humility. Bring this change in Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.
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