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James 3:13

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Some paths in our walk with the Lord are more difficult to embrace than others; humility is definitely one of them. Our flesh naturally cringes at the thought of being humbled, even though it can be a place of abundance and fruitfulness. Scripture defines humility as not thinking too highly of ourselves, but thinking soberly. False humility says, “I am of no use, I have nothing of value to offer,” but right-thinking counters with, “true, but God empowers me to do what I cannot on my own.” True humility intentionally keeps the Lord’s glory uppermost in our minds, as we think of ourselves less, and others more. Cultivating it requires us to frequently challenge the motives behind our actions, as well as our responses when things don’t go our way. We need to honestly ask, “Lord, is this ministry, activity or possession for Your glory or for the praise of another?” He delights to answer prayers like this! He’ll uncover pride hiding amid all sorts of things that don’t seem particularly prideful, like the hurt feelings that well-up when we’re slighted, overlooked or underappreciated. Whatever He reveals, it’s up to us to agree with His assessment. But if we won’t humble ourselves, God in His great love will do it for us.

Opportunities in life that bring us low are painful, yet always productive if we’ll allow them to be so. In the classic book The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian begins his descent into the Valley of Humiliation, a place described as peaceful: a land with very fruitful soil, in which many a pilgrim has traveled. Eyeing the path downward, he says, “As far as I can see, going down looks treacherous.” To which, it was replied, “Yes, it is. It is a very difficult thing for a man to go down into the Valley of Humiliation and not slip on the way.”

Pilgrim saint, it’s not easy to go down, but once there, the Lord will make it worth your temporary discomfort. Mercy, Christian’s traveling companion expresses it this way, “I think it is possible here for one to think… Here one may have his heart humbled and broken and his spirit melted until he has ‘eyes like the pools in Heshbon.’ This is the Valley that the King will give to His own for vineyards.”

Abandon yourself to God, fix your gaze on heaven, and find bounty in embracing humility here and now.

– Pastor Jack

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