Humbled before God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:8-10

There is no doubt that God is waiting for us at this time to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our sins. We cannot deny that the world is convulsed and misfortune can touch us. No country is exempt from a criminal mind carrying out a terrorist act that kills dozens of people and destroys monuments and symbolic places appreciated by its citizens. Our response to God for an event of this nature should not be one of pride and self-sufficiency, but humble ourselves and seek His face with all our hearts.

The book of Jonah can serve as an example for what James 4:8-10 says. Jonah 1:1-2, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” The prophet’s response, instead of fulfilling his mission, was to go the other way. Jonah 1:3 says, But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah was not an unbeliever but a servant of God acting double-minded. As he was not satisfied with the assignment, he preferred to ignore it and flee. Of course, it is impossible to flee from the presence of God. So the boat where Jonah went was caught by a great storm, he was thrown into the sea and was swallowed by a huge fish. All this can be read in the rest of Chapter 1 of his book. Inside the fish, Jonah reconsidered, acknowledged his sin, and prayed a beautiful prayer found in chapter 2 of his book. As a result, the prophet was able to escape unharmed from the entrails of the fish.

In chapter 3 of Jonah the prophet is seen fulfilling the mission entrusted. Jonah 3:1-4 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey[a] in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

The message of warning came to the inhabitants and king of the city, who took it very seriously. Jonah 3:5-9 says, So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

And here is God’s answer in Jonah 3:10, Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. God bless you.

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God Gives Grace to the Humble

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

We are living in very difficult times. Every day, the news is not pleasant. In many parts of the world, terrorist acts, natural disasters and politico-social conflicts are increasingly common. Before such news many people say that God has left us and that is why such things happen. The truth is that what happens in the world is not the fault of God but of ourselves. And our attitude to these tragic events must be to humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness for our sins. No doubt God will give grace to the humble.

There are two characteristics of the time in which we live, both sin and pride have increased to a high degree. Today, humanity considers acceptable behaviors that are in clear contradiction to what God condemns in His Word. There are even those who claim that the Bible should be “updated” to modern times to exclude from the list of sins all that is now lawful in the world. And if some brave preacher tries to confront sin, they consider him an anachronistic and outdated being, a legalist who does not fit the present time.

On the other hand, when some catastrophe touches them closely, there are those who vaguely remember God and ask for help, prayer for God to have mercy; but at no time do they humble themselves and acknowledge that they have failed Him. On the contrary, once the crisis is over, everyone returns to their old practice and forgets that God exists. And I’m not just talking about ungodly people who do not know God, many who call themselves Christians act in the same way.

What is the answer that God expects of us when He confronts us with our sin? The very Word of God gives us the key in 2 Chronicles 7:14, 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. Although it sounds uncomfortable to many, we have sinned, we are at fault with God and the warnings He sends us is not to pray for mercy but for repentance.

Will there be someone who does not need to bow their heads before God? Of course not! Even we who are made children of God cannot do it. On the contrary, Christians themselves should be the first to pray, seeking the face of God, leaving behind the evil path of false doctrines, face to face, humbled before Him. And our prayer must continue to intercede for the repentance of those who do not know God, that the Holy Spirit may convince them of their own sins and turn to Him.

To arrive before God with a prayer full of pride, decreeing, declaring and ordering as if we were the bosses of God, is not the right attitude to reach the favor of our Father. This is not biblical prayer. Neither Moses, nor David, nor Paul, nor even Jesus prayed that way. In Psalm 51:17 the Scripture says, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, these, O God, You will not despise. Let us humble ourselves before God and we will not only reach His favor, His forgiveness and His mercy, but He will give grace in us to those who reject Him so that we may intercede for His salvation. God bless you.

God Exalts the Humble

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

1 Peter 5: 6

Humility seems to be a virtue endangered nowadays. The world urges us not to be humiliated by anyone. The media tell us that we have rights that no one should trample. Parades are made to show pride; but no parade is done to show humility. If God exalts the humble, but hates pride, you do not need to be a scientist to realize why things go wrong in the world. It is obvious that the relationship between God and humanity is not going through its best.

I remember something that happened to me while I was doing my doctoral studies in chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico. Once I was talking with several teachers and I called Doctor to a university official who had received me when I first came to it in 1986. One teacher corrected me a bluntly saying that this man was not a doctor. I realized his words pride and ostentation of those who acquire a doctorate in science.

The lack of humility is not limited to people of the world. It is painful to see people who are supposed to serve God, but whose pride it flows through the pores. There are striking cases of religious who are offended if they are not called pastor, apostle, reverend, prophet or evangelist. If we call a “unordered” servant as pastor, the complaint goes away. The same happens if you call pastor who feels the power to be called an apostle or prophet. That person is just as upset if told that his mother practiced the oldest profession in the world.

What did Jesus say? See Matthew 23:8-12:  But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In the Kingdom of God is not greater who has the most sonorous titles, but he who serves all others. And our standard model is Jesus Christ himself, and says Philippians 2:5-11: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. God bless you.