Matthew, Chapter 23, verse 12. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. And whoever humbles himself, will be exalted.” Oh, this verse just provokes me to pray for humility, something that is not natural for me. I don’t think it’s natural for any of us. This goes against the grain of our sinful nature that is focused on ourselves, that is constantly tempted to think about ourselves. I see this in my own life. I am tempted in daily conversations to turn conversations in a way that will be favorable toward me, to think about what can I do in a way that will help my standing in somebody else’s eyes, and just to realize no, no, no, no, don’t do that. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
We are constantly tempted to exalt ourselves, so we must
pray for humility.
But whoever humbles himself will be exalted. So to pray for humility, I remember C.S. Lewis in his chapter on pride in Mere Christianity, which is, it is an excellent chapter, but he talks about humility as this almost great, unattainable trait. We pray and pray and try and try for humility, and once we get there, we’re proud of it, and I have to start all over. Humility is hard to really, but it’s the essence of what it means to follow Christ, to really deny yourself, to take up your cross, to die to yourself and say, “I want my life to be about you alone, Jesus. I want everything-” Instead of thinking in conversations, how can I turn this in a way that’s favorable toward me? To think in conversations, how can I turn this in a way that’s favorable toward you, glorifying to you? For my daily drive to be not how can I get ahead of it? How can I cause Christ to be supreme in my life and other people’s lives around me? Oh, I’m zealous for what people think, not about myself, but what they think about Jesus.
So, God, I pray for this kind of humility in my own life and the lives of those who are listening right now. We confess. It does not come natural to us. We are so prone to focus on ourselves, to think about ourselves, and even, oh God forgive us, even to try to exalt ourselves. Lord, we are in prayer, come before You and it’s clear. We don’t deserve any exaltation. We deserve eternal damnation. We deserve to be cast out of Your presence. The fact that we’re even able to pray right now is such evidence of Your grace. So, may it cause our hearts to realize in of ourselves, we are hopeless. It’s only because of You, Your grace and Your glory, that we have life. So help us not then, to rise from that reality and live to exalt ourselves. Help us to rise from that reality and live to exalt You. Help us to humble ourselves before You. Help us to humble ourselves before others.
And we pray. We pray for humility in our lives. I pray for that in my life today. Pray for that in the lives of those who are listening today. Help us to be humble. And in humility, to trust that You are pleased and You are honored and You are glorified in the humility of our lives. God, may it be so. Help us. Help us not to exalt ourselves. Help us to humble ourselves today, in every way.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.