Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1 – A sure way to be lifted up

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.  (Luke 14:11 NASB)

She came up to me after a service, extremely upset because her next-door neighbor was flaunting her new promotion to everyone she knew.  It just so happened that this woman and her neighbor were employed by the same company, but the church member had been overlooked for that position.  It seemed so unfair.  She had worked hard to prove herself and then her own neighbor was rubbing that loss in her face, and an unbelieving neighbor at that!

She had been feeling humiliated, but she was far from being humble.  Her pride was hurting, and that made her blind.  She was blind to the choice to humble herself and actually be happy for her neighbor, to even forgive her for gloating about her newfound success.  Her life was no worse than before the news of the promotion had broken, the only difference was the jealousy and anger that had risen up inside her.  Had she chosen to have a humble heart, to be gracious and to stay in submission to God and His promises, the pain would have disappeared quickly, and God Himself could exalt her because of her obedient heart and actions.

If she could just free herself from egotism and a desire to see herself exalted, God would be free to exalt her all on His own.  But He cannot and will not exalt us when we keep trying to exalt ourselves by our own flesh.  When we want to tell people off for what they have done wrong, or to have the last word, or to wish that proud people would fall and be disgraced is our useless (and harmful) attempt at exalting ourselves, even if it’s confined to our own selfish thoughts.  God cannot lift us up when we are so busy trying to do it ourselves.

It’s simple. God is against the ones who try to exalt themselves.  But He promises to lift up those who humble themselves.  Not those who have just gone through a humiliating experience, because there are plenty of proud people who are humiliated every day.  But God lifts up the ones who discipline their thoughts and feelings, choose to be humble, set their eyes on God and off themselves, who serve Him to the best of their abilities, and trust that He will lift them up because He always keeps His promises.  When we exalt ourselves, we always fall. But when God exalts us, nothing can knock us down. 

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