CALL TO OBEDIENCE #407
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"God Resisteth the Proud"
By Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze
...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6). This verse tells us who God is with and who He is against. It tells us who will have God’s tailwind and who will have God’s headwind through their journey of life.
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Since God is against the proud, you will never find the Holy Spirit in any one person who has pride in his heart. Likewise, you will hardly ever find the Holy Spirit in a church or congregation who prides itself in its accomplishments, spirituality, programs, people, phenomenal growth, doctrinal integrity, denominational loyalty, mission or educational programs.
What is pride? It is an exaggerated sense of self-esteem, self-worth and superiority. It leads to a downward look in reference to others and it exalts its accomplishments and value above that of others. It is one of the three most deadly sins: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Pride has many faces. There may be pride in money-making, in being educated, in the way we may have reared our children, in the wise choices we have made, in how we look, in our physical strength, in our associations with important people, in having been faithful in prayer, good deeds and witnessing. We must not have any pride in any of our accomplishments, because Paul admonishes us: That no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Cor. 1:29). Let us glory only in Him (v. 31). God resisteth the proud.
Pride destroys character. It ruins it and defaces it. When a man becomes proud, his spirit takes on the characteristics of a feathered scavenger. He develops claws with which to steal, a beak with which to tear and a squawk that frightens. Gentleness, sweetness, patience, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, compassion and purity is not found in a proud heart. Rather pride is full of deceit. It is blind. It is stubborn. It is harsh. It is thoughtless. It is inconsiderate. It abuses truth to serve its own purposes. Pride is deaf to all counsel but its own. Pride leads to deafness to the voice of Jesus. Pride will not follow Jesus, but will seek its own ways and ideas.
Pride is what caused Lucifer to fall from heaven, and pride is what will cause Christians to fall from grace. Pride cannot walk with God. Only humility can. Solomon said: Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord... (Prov. 16:5) Also see Prov. 11:2 and Prov. 28:25.
Pride goes before destruction (see Prov. 16:18). Destruction will follow pride as day follows night, and as spring follows winter. There were many who had pride in their business, but pride caused them to lose it overnight. There were those who were proud of the spiritual gifts that they possessed, but all of a sudden they found themselves using foul language or manifesting an angry or a resentful spirit. There were those who had great physical strength and had become trophy athletes, but all of a sudden God took them down by sickness or accident to draw them unto Himself.
The hands of pride fail God, because there is no strength in them to fulfill their divine mission on earth. The hands of pride cannot hold on to God, to love and to faith. They cannot hold on to the gifts of God. They cannot hold on to the revelations of God. They cannot hold on to prayer and endure. They fail in the Gethsemanes of life. They cannot hold on to God-ordained relationships when misunderstandings occur. The proud cannot hold on to the place where God has put them, but humble hands have strength to hold on to that which God has called them to. The proud cannot endure hardships, mockings, rejections, loneliness, disappointments or broken dreams.
The hands of humility are the hands of God. They belong to those who are drawing water from the well of contentment which never runs dry. They can reach into the Scriptures and draw out a promise for every situation. They are the hands through which God expands His kingdom. They are the hands through which God saves the lost forever. They are the hands belonging to those who encourage the disappointed because the power and the love of God flow through them.
The hands of humility are the ones that put lost men back on the road to the Celestial City. The hands of humility are the hands of compassion that reach out to those who have been beaten on the Samaritan roads of life. They are the hands that lift the loads that are too heavy for the hands of pride. The hands of humility are those into which God places His staff. The hands of humility are those that build the church of the living God. The hands of humility are those which bring in the harvest. The hands of humility belong to those through whom God governs the kingdom of God here on earth.
The hands of humility can hold on to the things of God in prosperity and in poverty, in days of ease and during the darkest of hours, during health and during sickness, in days of honor and dishonor.
The hands of humility always reach for the lowest seats (see Luke 14:7-11).
Samuel Morris, who was a Hottentot prince in Africa about to be beaten and killed by an enemy tribe, made it through the darkness of the African jungles to a missionary compound where he was gloriously saved. There he heard about the Holy Spirit, and the missionary taught him all she knew about the Holy Spirit. Finally, she said to him, “Samuel Morris, if you want to know more about the Holy Spirit you must go to Stephen Merritt.” Samuel Morris asked, “Where is Stephen Merritt?” The missionary pointed in the general direction of New York City, and immediately Samuel Morris ran in that direction. It took him right to the shores of the ocean, and there, by God’s grace, a ship came and took him to New York City. Finally, he ended up in the state of Indiana, and as he was in the office of the president of Taylor University, he was asked, “Samuel, which dormitory room would you like to have on this campus?” This Hottentot prince, full of the grace of God and of the Holy Spirit, with a heart of humility, said to the president in his beautiful African accent, “Give me room no one else wants.” Oh, praise God! The hands of humility reach for the lowest places! Because of his humility, many pastors wanted Samuel Morris to come to their church. Samuel Morris would just sit on the front pew; the building would be packed out with people and people would flock to the altar to be saved by the hundreds, if not thousands. God works through the humble.
“Give me room no one else wants” makes us fruitful some thirty, some sixty and some an hundredfold. It gets us to the hidden treasures of the kingdom and to the hidden manna.
Humility is the way to all that God has prepared for us before the foundation of the world. As your roots go down into humility, your spiritual branches spring upward. Humility will never fail. Humility is not a loser. Humility can be kicked around, knocked out, abused, slandered, shot at, falsely accused, spat upon, pressed, pierced through, crucified and buried. And yet after all of that, humility will never die; it is indestructible. Each time, it will rise up to resume its journey where it has left off with its eyes upon the throne of God.
Humility took Joseph from the pit to the palace. It took Moses from being an arrogant court official to being the meekest man on the face of the earth. It took Jesus from washing the disciples feet to be the King of kings and Lord of lords. It took Paul from the self-righteous ranks of the Pharisees to becoming the chief architect of the church and the most influential man in the history of the church.
Humility fights no battles; yet it wins all wars. Humility does not defend itself, yet it is never defeated. Humility seeks nothing for itself, yet it has everything. Humility rests at the foot of the cross, yet it touches all the universe. Humility in the hearts of men is what causes angels to wonder and God to smile. Humility draws grace, forbearance and forgiveness, and converts them into Christ-likeness. Humility is a garment of excellence and an ornament of grace.
The power of God is with the humble. The blessing of God is with the humble. The wisdom of God is with the humble. The kindness of God is with the humble. The compassion of God is with the humble. The revelations of God are found in the hearts of the humble and again, the hands of the humble are the hands of God.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:10).