Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you will humble yourself...

James 4:10
- AMP: Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
- NLT: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
- MESSAGE: ...Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

I used to think about this verse mainly in context of a promotion in my workplace. I used to think that if I’m humble and I do the tasks that have been assigned to me to the best of my ability, as if unto the Lord, that God would make sure that I move up the corporate ladder, so to speak. I can’t remember a time that I have ever really thought of this in another context. So what to do if you are not in an employment situation? Does this verse then become irrelevant?

This verse has been on my heart a lot the past few weeks. I’ve been feeling very prompted about surrendering my will to God. Where I find myself is not where I want to be. I think it is safe to say that I’ve been fighting God a lot of the way. I’ve just been wanting out and maybe I’ve not been paying attention to what needs to be accomplished before God lets me out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about
what Maria (Jesus’ mother) said when the angel told her about her pregnancy. “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” (Luke 1:38) God gave her the greatest assignment ever. She was to carry the Son of God in her womb and give birth to him on earth so that God’s plan of salvation could eventually be executed. But it was not quite all rainbows and lollipops.

She was going to be a pregnant virgin – no one was going to believe her (“yeah, RIGHT! Pregnant AND a virgin...”) – her fiancĂ© (the man that she loved) was not going to understand it and it was going to upset their relationship – the community could have stoned her for being pregnant outside of wedlock – she was going to have to deal with all of this coming her way and not feel condemned as they gossip behind their hand. In Maria’s world she wasn’t just saying yes to being pregnant, she was giving up her plan and saying, “Ok, Lord. Let’s do it your way.”

She humbled herself and surrendered her plan - she trusted the Lord.

I keep thinking that Holy Spirit is telling me the same thing, but I find myself not quite as brave and noble as Maria. What if God does something that I don’t like..? Anyone else ever felt that way? Yet, I know with my head that He is a good God, a loving Father and that He does nothing other than act out of love and kindness. I don’t even know what the plan is, but yet I want to feel in control. I don’t know where I’m going, but I want to drive...

I think one of the things I’m learning in this season is to let God have His way in my life. Sometimes humbling yourself means to forgive that person that you’ve been angry with for so long, or staying put when all you want to do is run away, or to do the simple things when you rather want to do the things that seem more important to you – the things that make you seem or feel more important.

Sometimes it means spending your money on something other than what you had originally planned because you feel prompted in your heart, or maybe not doing or buying something that you really had your heart set on. Sometimes it might be telling someone something that is hard for you to say – whether a compliment or a rebuke – but obeying Holy Spirit’s leading.

It doesn’t matter whether your obedience takes you to a geographical location or an emotional or spiritual one, but rather it is believing it enough that God loves you and always has your best interest at heart and being set free by that to follow where and how He leads you in obedience. Maybe I need a deeper revelation of His love for me.

When you do humble yourself and follow God’s way He says that He will lift you up. Maybe this means a promotion in a job. Maybe it means a job after not having one. Maybe it means a deeper relationship because of what was restored by your obedient act, or just greater emotional or spiritual freedom or wholeness. Maybe it means feeling joy again after carrying a burden for so long and finally letting it go. Maybe it means you finally learning the next step to move forward after having waited on the Lord for a long time, having had to grow in your faith that He would come through even if you didn’t know when or how.

Maybe sometimes the answer does not lie in knowing the next step, but in humbly submitting to God, seeing His face for what He wants to accomplish IN you during your season of surrender, so that He can lift you up in His time and His way, and so you may be ready for whatever He has prepared for you.

God knows details of our future that we don’t. One thing we can look forward to on the other side of our humbling ourselves is the encouraging promise of being lifted up – a promise of a God whose Word endures forever, a God who is not a man that He would lie and a God for whom no time is wasted time - a God who says that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Maybe God is waiting for me to humble myself rather than me waiting for Him to uplift me...


Anonymous said...

I very much enjoyed reading this one Liane. It prompts me to raise an eyebrow and wonder....(??). Well written and very truthful.


Liane de Witt said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I hope it makes you wonder about something that helps you in a good way :)