"As the Scriptures say, ‘God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.'"
- James 4:6 NLT
Recently, my husband, Joe, taught us all a wonderful lesson in humility. He was driving home from work one evening, and was tired and anxious to get home. He knew better than to drive too fast, but he threw caution aside, and leaned on the accelerator. As soon as he saw the flashing lights of a police car coming up behind him, he immediately turned to the Lord, and humbly asked for His forgiveness and help. When the police officer approached Joe and chastised him for driving so recklessly, my husband admitted his wrongdoing and guilt without hesitation. As a result, the officer did not slap Joe with the severe penalty he deserved, but gave him instead a minor fine, and sent him on his way. Overjoyed and grateful, my husband thanked the officer and gave praise to God, vowing to be more careful in the future.
This experience is a perfect example of the truth of James 4:6 (NLT), which says: “God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.” Time and time again, my family and I have witnessed the difference it makes in our lives and circumstances when we've resisted being prideful and stubborn, and have chosen to humble ourselves before God and others. I can remember a time when my husband would be in exactly the same situation as I just described, but instead of reacting with humility, he would react with anger and stubborn pride. Needless to say, the results were always negative, and sometimes the consequences were even devastating. Once my husband began resisting the temptation to become hostile or offended in situations like these, he began experiencing for himself the goodness of God. Now he is “hooked” and knows that when he’s in a “tight spot,” the best thing for him to do is to humbly admit his fault, and pray for the Lord's forgiveness and help. Why don't more people experience for themselves the goodness of God? The answer is simple—pride. While the Lord earnestly desires to reveal His goodness to us, He can't do that as long as pride is controlling our lives. That's why Satan works overtime trying to get us to become offended, angry, and willful. He knows that these attitudes can drive a wedge between us and God. They can keep us from enjoying the fullness of God's blessings, and can ultimately prevent us from fulfilling our God-given purpose.
Suppose when that police officer pulled my husband over that day, he thought to himself, “I was wrong and I don't deserve the Lord's help, so I won't expect it or ask for it.” This is another mistake that so many of us make. We get caught doing wrong, and we decide for ourselves that we don't deserve God's mercy or assistance, so we don't ask for them. This is just as wrong as reacting with anger or hostility. First Peter 5:6-7 (TLB) says: “If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in His good time He will lift you up. Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” The Lord longs to have us humbly turn to Him in our times of need, so that He can demonstrate His unconditional love for us, and His willingness to act on our behalf. When we make a mistake, God isn't going to make us feel worse by beating us over the head with guilt and condemnation. That's the devil's job. Today, my heartfelt prayer for you is that the next time you're in a “tight spot,” you'll remember that it's the humble that get God's help!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I've been prideful, angry, or willful—instead of humble, reasonable, and cooperative. From now on when I'm in trouble, remind me to seek Your help and forgiveness, even when I don’t deserve them. Give me the grace I need to mature in Christ, and help me to do my part in the process. Thank You for revealing Your goodness and love to me in awesome new ways!
- J. M. Farro