“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
James 4:10 (NASB)
Series Focus: “Back to the Basics”
“You do you!” Many use this popular phrase. You’ve surely heard it. Perhaps you’ve even said it. Rooted in self-protection and motivation, this statement encourages individuals to advocate for themselves. It pushes its hearers to know their desires and expectations, to set healthy boundaries, and to act boldly toward their goals. This measure of self-care is necessary, good, and rewarding—when kept in check.
Years ago, I adopted this mantra. As a self-proclaimed yes-girl, I had lost myself in fulfilling the expectations of others. Overwhelmed and lonely, the do-you motto became a revelatory justification for me to assert, defend, and fulfill my own desires. Vacillating from one extreme to the other, I became entrenched in esteeming my needs over those of others. Where is the balance?!
A yes-girl can humbly offer herself as a help to others in their very present times of urgency. Or she can pride herself on fulfilling their needs. A do-you-girl can protect herself by establishing healthy boundaries while focussing upon her goals. Or she can selfishly pursue her desires while neglectfully disregarding those of others.
We all fall on the spectrum of a yes-girl to a do-you-girl from day to day—even moment to moment! Regardless, the issue isn’t which girl with whom we identify, but the motive of our hearts in each moment. No matter the position of our physical lives and choices, we can submit to God in humility, or seep in selfish pride.
Are we humbling ourselves before God while serving others? Are we surrendering to God’s will? Are we considering Him with every thought, choice, word, and action? Are we esteeming others before ourselves, exalting God with every single motive?
Why does this matter? Scripture teaches on this subject. Weaved from the Old Testament to the New, the discussion of humility and pride fill the pages. Let’s look at some verses:
When pride comes, then comes dishonor; but with the humble there is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NASB)
A person’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NASB)
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time. (1 Peter 5:5b-6 NASB)
Humility is a basic element of our faith in God. It cultivates honor, wisdom, and exaltation. It values the lives of others and exercises surrender to self. Conversely, selfish pride breeds dishonor, ignorance, and lowliness. It disregards others and demands its own way. Finally, humility is not only an attitude we embrace toward people, but also one we also exercise in our relationship with God.
What does that look like? As we study the life of Jesus, we see He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death. Jesus surrendered His will to fulfill the will of God. The image of humility Jesus portrayed reflects obedience to God. In the verse quoted above, Peter instructs us to clothe ourselves with humility. Paul exhorts us in Romans and Galatians to put on Christ. Clothing ourselves with humility is the same as putting on Christ. Both mean obedience to God as we choose to die to our own will to fulfill God’s will in our lives.
Whether a yes-girl or a do-you-girl, our obedience to God should be our focus. May the slogan of our lives be “Do God!” as we exalt Him with every thought, word, motive, and action. Adopting the spirit of humility Jesus has provided for us, let’s clothe ourselves with Him. This simple change in our focus transforms us from self-centeredness to God-centeredness—from serving self to obedience to God—from selfish pride to selfless humility. As we humble ourselves under God in obedience to Him, He will faithfully exalt us at the right time. So, yes-girl, do-you, with a heart humbly submitted to God.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 25:9, 69:32; Proverbs 11:2,15:33, 18:12, 29:23; Matthew 11:29, 18:4, 23:12; Luke 14:7-11; Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; Philippians 2:3-9; James 1:21, 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-7