Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
There he was. The game was over. Pandemonium had erupted from the crowd of 80,000 plus. There he was. The hero. Standing on a bench, towering over the people nearby with arms folded across his chest and a look on his face that dared anyone to question his greatness. He had certainly made a nice play. Some might suggest he had the fortune of being in the right place at the right time and had merely managed to capitalize on someone else’s mistake. Either way, he was the center of attention and he was soaking it all in.
The picture described above could hardly be used as an illustration of today’s Bible verse: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Are we any different than a proud athlete in this regard? We are also pretty good at pumping ourselves up. We highlight our good qualities and downplay our weaknesses. We post our accomplishments online for others to see. We make ourselves look better in comparison to others. We pat ourselves on the back and fail to congratulate others for a job well done. How many times haven’t we in our own minds decided that we are better than others for one reason or another?
This kind of self-flattery and pride will prevent God from lifting us up in the end. Sins of pride and arrogance and conceit can only lead us away from God, and all such sins are deserving of his eternal punishment.
God tells us to humble ourselves, to make ourselves low before him. This means leveling off our pride. It means stepping down from above others. It means humbly confessing our sins and our unworthy status before God.
When we do that, something surprising happens. He doesn’t crush us or destroy us. Rather, our Father in heaven lifts us up. He lifts our eyes to the cross of Christ where our Savior’s blood was shed and our sins were paid for. He lifts our eyes to the empty tomb where Christ won our victory over the grave. He takes us by the hand and says he will watch over us every day as he leads us on to heaven.
Today and every day, humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up.
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive my sins of pride and arrogance. Teach me to be humble before you and to rejoice as you lift me up. Amen.
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