But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 NASB
What would force God to oppose me? According to James, it is pride.
As fallen humans, our sins had separated us from God. He is Holy and cannot abide with sin. It is incompatible with who He is. To bridge that gap, we know that God came to us in human form to bear our iniquities and unite us back to himself. In the same way that sin contrasts with a Holy God, pride opposes God. In Proverbs 6:17, God says that a proud look (or haughty eyes) is an abomination to Him (he detests it).
If the New Testament contained the book of Tarzan, he might phrase it this way, “Humility good, pride baaad.” Yes, humility is good, so that means we should concentrate on being humble, right? Not necessarily.
I’ve found when I focus solely on humility, I’m focused solely on myself, which at the end of the day is still pride. It’s all about me. This can be a dangerous trap for Christians. Because we all know that he who is greatest must be a servant (Matt 20:27), we may tend to boast in a false sense of humbleness. Over time, this can lead to a lack of true servitude towards one another. We can acquire the mindset of, “I’m more important than you because I serve more than you.”… Pride. So, what did I realize I needed to focus on in order to be genuinely humble? Love.
Love takes the focus off of me and onto somebody else. Humility is a result of true love. Here is the checklist for love. I’ve recently made this passage my bread and butter:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 1 Cor 13:4-6 NASB
If I learn to love well, I won’t brag about my actions. I won’t be seeking my own. I will not be jealous. My actions will be done in kindness. I will not be easily provoked, and I will not be arrogant. It’s important to note that these are all the effects of love. Love is selfless in its very nature. When I am being selfless, there is no room for pride.
Focusing inward without love can actually lead to selfishness. Focusing outwardly in love will lead to selflessness, and a genuine, passionate humility will be the byproduct. A humble heart will be a byproduct of following the two great commandments: loving God first, and loving others second (Matt 22:37-39).
God’s very nature is love.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 NASB
I don’t want God to oppose me. I want to be humble. I want more of God’s grace. I want God to perfect his love in me.
If you do too, maybe you’d like to pray this prayer with me:
Father, I ask you to perfect your love in me. Please reveal pride in my life and allow me to humble myself by the power of your Holy Spirit. I want more of your grace, more of your favor. Help me to love better. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Copyright © 2012, Jonathan Santiago, used by permission.