God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. James 4:6b-7a
There is a hymn by Israel Houghton, “I Surrender All,” that has these lyrics:
All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow, worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me Jesus, take me now; All to Jesus I surrender, Make me Savior wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine
It is a nice song to sing at the end of a sermon, but much harder to really live out. Let’s think about what it really means to submit to God and to be humble for a few minutes. Submitting to God means giving up pride, self-centeredness, and pretty much anything having to do with self. The group ‘Mercy Me’ has a song called “So Long Self,” by Bart Millard. Its lyrics hit a little closer to home:
Believe it or not but life is not apparently about me anyways; But I have met the One who really is worthy so let me say–So long self. Well it’s been fun, but I have found somebody else, So long self. There’s just no room for two, so you are gonna have to moveDon’t take this wrong, but you are wrong for me…
When you die to self, say ‘so long,’ that’s when Jesus really takes over. That’s what Galatians 2:20 says, and it’s the guts of the Christian life: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This is where you let Jesus take over for you. It involves submitting to God, which is a part of James’ verse. Submitting to God means giving up your right to be right and it makes you have a teachable spirit. You don’t shift blame when someone points out something. A blame shifter says things like, “You always point out everything I do wrong,” instead of saying, “You’re right, I need to make sure I don’t do that next time.”
Again, someone without a teachable spirit does not receive any kind of input. He or she might be quite adept at picking out other people’s faults, but not so able to see her own weaknesses, let alone do something about them. She might make excuses for the obvious weakness, or place blame on someone or something else, rather than do the hard work of change.
On the contrary, a humble and teachable spirit owns his faults, doesn’t shift blame, or fall apart when corrected. Someone bent on submitting to God is able to submit to others, whether that person has his act together or not. And James tells us that when we are humble, God pours His grace on us.
I do not want God to oppose me, but I really want Him to pour His grace on me. James tells us the secret: Be humble. In Psalm 51:17 David wrote, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
*Image from Google Images