“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” 1 Peter 5:6 NLT
Be humbled by God, or choose to humble self. Those are our options. Why? Because that is His way. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5b) So, we choose. I must confess to you today that I’ve walked a long, hard, and painful road of being humbled over the past few years. Some form of humiliation seemed to be awaiting me at each and every turn, and were it not for Christ in me, I would have resorted to all-out bitterness and resentment by now. Believe me, I was tempted to. Being humbled is hard, seemingly impossible at times. “When will this end? Haven’t I learned my lesson yet?” Questions that ruminated in my heart and mind countless times and even crossed over my lips. “I want to be done with this and move on from here, Lord”, I would say. “Humble yourself under my mighty hand, and in due time, I will lift you up” were the words He would bring me back to again and again.
Throughout this process, Jesus lovingly revealed to me the stench of pride in my life that I needed to be cleansed of, and He has continued to walk graciously by my side every time I forget humility and insist on self. Before we move on from here though, let’s pause and allow those words to penetrate our hearts:
The stench of pride.
Do we realize that pride is a grievous stench in the nostrils of God? He hates pride. Every time we operate in pride, it is as if our lives reek. Why? When life becomes all about self, how can it possibly be all about and for our God? I’ve always known that pride is a sin and that God hates pride. Still, I was somewhat blind to seeing it manifested in my own life. Anybody? It was in my quiet time with the Lord (and it usually is, isn’t it?) one early morning when these words came to me:
“Lord, grant me the gift of self-forgetfulness.”
Yes! That is it! This is what my heart and soul and mind are desperate for, Jesus. I must decrease, and you must increase. More of You, and less of me. Today, Lord Jesus, I refuse to make life about me, but rather, may I, through this life, make every encounter about You. May I cease striving to make my name great and known and rather sacrifice all to make your name great. Through my speech. Through my countenance. Through my actions. Through my every interaction with even the most difficult of people, may You shine through. I throw off the weight of entitlement and self-worth and cling to the cross today, Jesus. You are all I need. Your love and forgiveness is all the acceptance I need. The praise and adoration of man is fleeting at best, so I will not find my worth in it any longer. Help me, Lord, to forget self and remember You. Get my eyes off of me, and bring my gaze back to your nailed pierced hands and feet.