On Being Humbled

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up,” (James 4:10 NIV).

I used to work in IT. About fifteen years ago God told me to get a physical job. I resisted. Physical jobs don’t pay as much; they require more effort and more hours to get a good salary. I used to take a lot of medications that made me tired. I would fall asleep at my desk when I worked on the computer because it was so uneventful. I guess deep down I wanted to be respected by my peers as having a cerebral job, one that I had to have a college degree to get. After about five years working in IT, I decided to get a job that required more physical effort.

I got a job in caregiving. Incidentally, instead of paying less, it payed better and I had the opportunity to make more in overtime. I spent less time on the computer that way and more time moving around and being around people. The job was less stressful and, as I experienced it, healthier. I felt like I was needed and had a purpose. I was helping special needs adults with cognitive and physical impairments. I wish I would’ve obeyed God sooner but at least when I did work in IT I gained some skills that would later help me develop this website. God has a purpose for telling us what to do. His will is always good and it’s in our best interest to humble ourselves and listen to Him.

Being around cognitively disabled adults has helped me a lot because they are a lot like children. I don’t have children myself but I’ve noticed that other people’s kids are very sensitive to spiritual things. In Matthew 21:16, Jesus quotes this scripture: “from the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise” (NIV).

Luke 18:16-17 says Jesus called the children to him and said,

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (NIV)

To be the greatest in heaven you must serve many. God rewards humility. Jesus says in Matthew 18:4, “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,”(NIV). You may be thinking, “that’s asking a little much.” Or maybe you think that serving people is not necessary. There are many passages in the bible that talk about being a servant.

Numbers 12:13 says that Moses was a humble man. It’s very encouraging to see that a spiritual giant like Moses who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt would actually be humble. He had so much to be cocky about.

“[Let] the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” said God in Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV).

2 Samuel 22:28 NIV says, “[God saves] the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.” It’s when we get proud that we start thinking we don’t need God. He’s probably thinking, if you are so great why don’t you make yourself?

When you suffer you should rejoice because that means that your reward is great in heaven (1 Peter 3:14). In this world there will be trials and tribulations. God wants us to seek Him. Sometimes He uses trials and problems to bring us closer to Him. He really wants to be close to His people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a good demonstration of God’s basic will for Israel. It says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God wants us to leave room for learning. We shouldn’t become so wise in our own sight that we don’t even ask for God’s help. Psalm 25:9 says: “[God] guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” The only way you can be taught is if you are humble because to learn something you have to admit that you don’t know it in the first place. Admitting we don’t know what we’re doing can be hard. However, for little kids, learning is what they are all about. They love it. That is why Jesus wants us to be like little children.

In the end, when God’s kingdom comes He promises that the meek will inherit the earth. The Old Testament book of Zephaniah chapter 3 verses 11-13 say:

“On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”

Proverbs 25:6-8 summarizes the intent of the scriptures well. It says: “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, ‘Come up here,’ than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.”

Our culture is so into self-promotion. It goes strongly against what God wants for us. Hollywood makes it seem like pride is a good thing. Rich men and women in our culture are honored but not by God. Matthew 19:23 says, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Since Rome’s inception, it seems to be the way of white culture to take and possess land, people and commodities. We need to rethink how we behave, especially in international relations. Violently conquering land and people is not our right. You may be thinking, it’s a little late for that, we’re already settled in our country. Our country is established but we still flex our prideful ways in our foreign relations.

For instance, Chinese workers get paid very little for the commodities they manufacture. However, when something is made in the USA the people that make it expect a living wage for USA standards. Last time I checked auto union workers in American factories made up to $30/hr for low skill manufacturing jobs. Why should Chinese workers make pennies a day and in some cases be used as slave labor when American workers who do jobs that require less skill make themselves into millionaires? I’m not necessarily saying we should pay American workers less but there shouldn’t be a wage gap for foreign labor. It’s just not fair. Black people and women still don’t make a fair wage in our country and it’s just one more way that white culture oppresses other cultures.

What can we do? Don’t buy foreign made products if you can help it. In fact, don’t buy into the whole idea that it is white people’s right as consumers to buy and sell until there’s nothing left but garbage dumps all over the earth. In buying products we don’t really need, Americans foul the environment and planet in the name of consumerism and greed. You can’t take any of that junk with you when you die. It was never yours in the first place because the land belongs to God. We belong to the land. If we get greedy we only foul our own nest. This is why global warming is so out-of-hand.

Americans are so confident in being a Christian nation. They think because they don’t support abortion and go to church on Christmas Eve they are exemplary citizens worthy of Christ’s kingdom. Please! China has more Christians in it than America and Americans exploit Chinese labor in order to buy more and more widgets for cheap that they see on TV.

Please take this post to heart. God wants everyone to return to Him. If you are confident in your Christianity you should have a heart humble enough to question your everyday living and the character of those who are honored in your culture. Rethink consumerism and humble yourself before God.