“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
‘God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.’”
But gives grace to the humble
The negative side of this verse is “God resists the proud.” The positive side is he “gives grace to the humble.” Lack of humility may explain why we do not have enough grace. We are not humble, so we do not get grace.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
God gives grace to the humble because the humble person recognizes that everything depends on who God is and what He does. The word “gives” means that God keeps on giving grace to the humble person, the person who has no illusions about himself and understands that what he has, he has from God.
Grace is an unmerited blessing, God’s provision for us that we do not deserve. A humble person is a good receiver. He willingly confesses his need to receive something from God.
“Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility” (Proverbs 18:12).
Before we can receive honor, we must come to the point of humility. If we never come to the point of humility, we will never come to the point of honor. Samuel, speaking to Saul, said,
“So Samuel said, ‘When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel?’” (1 Samuel 15:17).
Saul magnified himself in his own eyes, and we magnify ourselves in our eyes. We generally have an inflated, exaggerated estimation of our ability. Because others do not share that same exaggerated estimation of ourselves, we feel dejected. Our feelings are hurt, and we say, “People do not appreciate me.” This is a particular occupational hazard with preachers. It goes with the job.
We will get no cooperation from God when it comes to pride. Most of us struggle with pride in all our lives. Invariably we are proud of things we have no business being proud: pride of race, the pride of face, the pride of grace. The Devil has much to do with pride:
“Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).
In this context, God gives grace to the congregation who submits to its leadership. If an assembly has no illusions about itself, God will bless it. If we focus our eyes on leadership, we will fall flat on our faces. What do you expect of your pastor? Do you expect him to be someone who never makes a mistake? That is what many people expect. They want a preacher who never sins. Pride resists and rejects the authority of the leadership of the local church. The “humble” person is the person who looks to the grace of God’s provisions.
Pride = God resists
Humble = God recognizes
God gives grace to people who recognize their need for God.
Some people have the idea that being humble is the equivalent of being someone’s doormat. But denying humility is not pretending to be blind to our strong points. There is no humility in disowning that we can do certain things. Similarly, it is not prideful to believe that we can do certain things with excellence. Humility has to do with knowing the source of our strength.
If someone says, “Hey, that was a great sermon,” what is the pastor supposed to say, “Yea, that was a great sermon!!” No leader has ever gone without some compliments in his life. It is somewhat phony to say, “Give God credit, brother!” This may be sincere but rude. However, the worst thing that can happen to you is to believe it. When a leader starts believing his clippings, he is in danger of God resisting him. The humble believer has no illusion about himself and no illusions about anyone else except the Lord.
A humble person does not demand respect from others. This person does not need special attention. Maturity comes, not by hammering ourselves, but by recognizing God’s grace in our lives. God is the giver of the good. He demolishes our pride.
God possesses indescribable intelligence. He is all-knowing. He has never had to learn anything because he has always known everything. That is why God is never surprised, astounded, or shocked. No one has ever put God in a bind. This God never asks us to do anything unreasonable. God’s commands are his enablements.