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Humility Wins

American football player in game, running. Night stadium lights

Wise words from the New Testament remind us of the importance humility can play in our lives:

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. – James 4:10

After an exciting touchdown run, it is refreshing to see so many professional football players kneel to the ground to celebrate their success with a quiet, reflective moment. It’s a real contrast to the vibrant, ego-centered rampages we saw during most of the 1990s.

Backslapping, head-pounding, and high strutting has its place and reward, but blessed are those who acknowledge the success they’ve achieved without making a mockery of the game. Excessive celebrations often bring unnecessary delay and incur deep resentment and bitter criticism from the opposing team. Finally, in 1998, the league said enough is enough! Let’s put the emphasis where it belongs – on good sportsmanship and grateful hearts – instead of on those few players wishing to show off their latest dance moves.

When I reflect upon who God is – how He is so powerful, infinitely holy, sovereign, mighty, majestic, glorious – all I can see is my own sin and how ordinary I am.

I’m reminded of the humility Isaiah experienced when confronted with the reality of God Almighty. He ended up cursing himself:

Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. – Isaiah 6:5

In the New Testament we know the disciples were humbled after Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee:

They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’ – Mark 4:41

If we’re humbled before the true God, we’ll have the same response as these disciples.

When people face the holy presence of God in their lives, the natural response is to become fearful. But God does not leave us cowering in terror.

Scripture tells us that if we are humbled in spirit, knowing that we are saved by grace, we will be sanctified (set apart—freed) and ultimately glorified. The apostle Paul summarized this in Ephesians 2:4–7:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Dear friend, while respecting the power and might of God, remember His great love and gracious heart. The first step to humility is to understand our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. Christ showed us humility by becoming a man and living as a servant. Let’s humbly serve others then, in a Christlike manner.

Next time an athlete takes a moment to give some quiet reflection to God for His goodness, let’s give that person an extra hand.

Waiting for the Rams to win a super bowl is like leaving the porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa. – Milton Berle

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you. – 1 Samuel 12:24

Game Plan

1. Are there times in your daily life when it would be better to react with humility rather than prideful self-appreciation?

2. How does your humility – or lack of it – affect the attitudes of those around you?

Excerpted with permission from Guts Grace & Glory by Jim Grassi, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2013.

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Your Turn

Leave a comment on our blog! We would love to hear from you about humility! ~ Devotionals Daily