1/13/16 Humble Yourself

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Morning Meditations 1/13/16

This morning I want to consider two verses: James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” 1Pet 5:6: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

This is no small task. I would rather not talk about it in public much less write about it in this publication. I would rather you not know that I have an awesome problem with pride.. But one of the things that the Lord lay on my heart as I began to share these times of Scripture meditations is to walk in the light with you. That means I must be honest and transparent with you. I am helped the most in devotional studies when I discover others have my same problems. So, maybe this is the reason the Lord wants it done like this.

The task of humbling myself is one hard task. The words “Humble yourselves” in James is from a word (tapeinoo) that means “to make low, to bring low, to level, to reduce to a plain.” It is an aorist passive imperative verb. I am having a struggle at this point bringing out the meaning of this verb. I don’t want to be misunderstood because your perception of me is very important to me (see the problem I have?) But I’m must tell you for the truth’s sake. Our translation makes this an active voice verb. The subject is doing the acting. Do you see it? “Humble yourselves..” That is an active voice. The Textus Receptus here is a passive voice: “Be humbled.” The subject (me) is being acted upon. Now who gave the translators the right to make this change? I believe revelation ended with the Book of Revelation.

Well, how does this figure in? First of all, I can’t handle myself. It hurts too much to do to myself what is necessary. And it contradicts all reason, even carnal Christian reason. If I have accomplished something for the Lord, why is it wrong for me to take some credit? For starters, any success we have in the Lord’s work, He is the wisdom of and the power of it. Any credit I take distracts from the glory He deserves.

Back to the meaning of the passive voice: “Be humbled” (also translated this way by Young’s Literal Translation a very old work) is where the subject is acted upon. What acts on the subject? The Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit within. I can submit to the Word of God and refuse to think more highly of myself than I ought (Rom 12:3). This way I am allowing the Word to humble me. I can trust the power of the Holy Spirit to make my submission to the Word effective (Rom 8:13). This is what walking in the Spirit means. We are not only guided by Him but also empowered by Him to keep our selves in line with what the Bible teaches as we submit to it.

The aorist tense refers to action at a point of time and once for all. This means a once for all decision about self glory and a permanent attitude. This “Be humbled” is an attitude of life for the Spirit filled believer. A cocky arrogant person knows nothing of the filling of the Holy Spirit..That does not mean that a Spirit filled person cannot step out of line temporarily and become cocky and arrogant. He may do this and realize what he has done is wrong and confess it as sin and be forgiven and walk on in the power of the Holy Spirit. But it is a problem I have to deal with all the time. The flesh is permanently at odds with God and His Word. You will fail in your attempt to train the flesh to serve God. I have tried and failed for years. I have been so disappointed over and over again. I have finally lost all confidence in the flesh and myself. I have learned by experience that Paul was right: Phil 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” That blows the “self image” crowd clean out of the water.

The imperative mood of this verb is a command and speaks of urgency. When God puts it in the imperative mood, you can be sure it is important and urgent. The matter of being humbled under the mighty hand of God (second text) is urgent. Any action taken by us apart from this submission to God on our part is wood, hay and stubble. God will not share His glory with another. How would you like to write a book and have someone else steal it, put his name on it and publish it? How would you like to see that book published under another’s name and that person make millions off the book? You say, “I wouldn’t like that at all. I would sue that person. If I wrote the book, I should get credit for it. Well, now we get the feeling of what is meant in this verse. We are to live our lives according to God’s Word and in the power of His Holy Spirit and get no credit whatsoever for the life lived. Am I willing to do that? I need to make up my mind once and for all to “Be humbled in the sight of the Lord” and maintain that humility the rest of my life giving God all the glory for every thought and action I take. It is no longer I but Christ who lives in me.

May God bless these thoughts to our hearts.

In Christ

Earl White

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