“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
—James 4:10 (NRSV)
Oh how difficult it is to be appropriately and diligently spiritual!
In becoming spiritual we must necessarily negate the flesh. In drawing near to God we must pull away from our egos. A selfish desire cannot coexist in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Surely having read the Bible we would know this. Surely this is preaching to the converted.
The trouble is, whilst we know this information, and we appreciate the theology, we have much more trouble applying it with consistent ardour.
Where our relationships falter with the Lord is in devotion. We can devote our time and our energy and our mind to the things of God, but if our devotion doesn’t penetrate our hearts, little effect for God will be made.
Going Low to Get High
Achieving the dizzy heights of the Presence of God is paradoxical in that we must be authentically humble. The moment we get ahead of ourselves the Spirit of God scurries. And because we are destined to get ahead of ourselves—going high—we get low. Pride comes before a fall.
To get high regarding our relationship with God we must intentionally, and gleefully, go low. We must detach from our wants and needs, trusting God to provide by blessing us according to our true needs, and seek to fulfil the needs of others in our midst.
The more we are able to think of others, without denying the truth of our own realities, the more we are able to draw upon the humility of Jesus.
When we go low regarding our own needs and desires, we get high in the divine pecking order. Love is endearing to the world because God has constructed creation as implicitly a social environment. Love is rewarded, whereas selfishness becomes despised. It’s the law of life.
The more we think in these ways of going low to get high the more we will actually behave in those ways. What we pray for, always, is for a heart transformation to take place. We should want to genuinely feel loving toward others.
Our hearts are the spiritual organs tested most when it comes to others. How we behave by instinct, without thought, is how we tested. The heart speaks through instinctive action. A pure heart will love without thought.
When we are humble enough to exalt others, God notices our humility and exalts us. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Matthew 23:12).
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.