Humble Yourself – Part I
Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14
Key Verse: Luke 18:14b
“… For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The study for today will come naturally to some Christ-followers but will take a lot of work for others.
Jesus takes time to remind His followers that they must humble themselves. If they don’t, God will humble them. However, Jesus said that if His followers humble themselves, then they will be exalted.
The challenge for today’s study is twofold. First, how do we humble ourselves? And second, how do we humble ourselves without a motivation to be exalted?
The story that Jesus told those who were standing close helps us answer these questions. Jesus realized that some of His listeners had great confidence in their own righteousness and judged all others harshly; it was for these that Jesus told the following story.
Two men were standing in the temple praying. One was a Pharisee, and he felt his righteousness was far above everyone else’s. In his prayer, the Pharisee talked about the many sinful things other people did, how He would fast twice a week, and that he’d make sure he paid his tithe. The second man in Jesus’s story was a tax collector. He was despised by society because of tax collectors’ practice of taking more than they should from taxpayers. However, this tax collector stood in the temple and prayed a humble prayer of admitting that he was, indeed, a sinner.
Jesus told His listeners that it was this tax collector who went home justified before God.
The first lesson we learn from Jesus’s story is that we humble ourselves when we admit that we are sinners who don’t deserve to be forgiven. We don’t just say the words because we think this is what God wants to hear. Rather, we think of all the ways we have sinned against God in our lifetime, and that should lead to a self-humbling spirit. We never want to live in the past, but Christ-followers must never forget about the past. Anyone who starts to feel entitled to God’s blessings has forgotten about how many times God had forgiven them of their past sins. It is a good practice for all Christ-followers to take a few moments every so often to remember how much God has shown mercy and forgiveness to them. It is this practice that answers the question of how we are to “humble ourselves”.
Another discipline that is crucial is to catch ourselves when we start to judge others harshly for their sinful ways. As we practice extending mercy to them, we practice the discipline of humbling ourselves.
Father, please remind me to humble myself when I start to feel any pride about my spiritual life. I ask this in Jesus’s Name, amen.