Monday, October 31, 2011

The Surrender Empowered Humility of God Empowered Exaltation

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)

Excerpt from “Walking with God in Humility” – 2011-10-30
Our sinful pride will always cause us to humbly exalt ourselves. But our text for today calls us, commands us, to another way. The truth is, we cannot exalt ourselves – only God can do that. And God will not “exalt” us until we take our proper place before Him. Three different times (Mt. 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14) Jesus said: “he who humbles himself will be exalted." In all of these cases – and in our text for today – the word “humble” is in the passive mood, which means “humble yourselves” literally could be read “allow yourselves to be humbled.” We cannot be humble ourselves. God must be the one to humble us, but we must surrender and submit to Him first. We will always naturally resist being humbled because we are naturally prideful in our sin. Before a horse can be of any use, that horse must be broken of its self-will. It must be brought to the place of submission. Likewise, before we can humbly be of any use to God, we must first be broken of the self-will of our pride. It’s our fallen sinful nature to defend ourselves, to deny that we are prideful. But we are prideful, so God calls us to humble ourselves before Him and when we do “he will exalt” us. 1 Peter 5:6 says: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” What does it mean to be “exalted” by God after we have “humbled” ourselves before Him? This is where our second text that we are looking at comes in. 1 John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The context of these words from the apostle John is acknowledging the true depth of our sinful nature.

When we do “confess our sins” God will then faithfully “forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – which means that we will then become righteous by the sacrificial work of the cross of Christ. And at “the proper time” – either on the day we die or on the day the Lord comes back, whichever comes first - God Himself will “exalt” us! And God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain (Revelation 21:4); And we will see His face, and His name will be on our foreheads. And night will be no more. And we will need no light or lamp or sun, for the God will be our light, and we will reign with Him forever and ever (Revelation 22:4-5); Jesus said: "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh!” (Luke 6:21).