Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
I am sure that many of us have heard the song, “It’s Hard to be Humble.” The song was written in 1980 by Mac Davis, and was something of a parody on the “struggle” that folks have when they find themselves in a position of fame and fortune with rabid fans always wanting to be near them. The song is definitely light hearted, but it also has in it a lot of truth about the human mind and heart. It can be difficult to be humble, especially since it is our nature to have a very high view of ourselves, inherently speaking. Humility is a quality that can be hard to come by.
When James wrote the words quoted at the top of this article (James 4:10), he was in the midst of addressing people who apparently could think of nothing other than self. Evidently they were focused intently on their own personal needs, and on whatever they could gain for their own benefit (and without clear regard for others). As a result, James admonished them, challenging them to reflect on their behavior in order that they may learn to become people of humility.
In this section James quotes from Proverbs 3:34 (as does Peter in 1 Peter 5:5), saying, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” As long as you or I are seeking only what we can gain for ourselves, we will find that we are standing in opposition to what God wants for us. In our humility—a humility that recognizes our absolute reliance upon God—we will be given grace. Grace is what we require in order to draw near to God. And God is the one we need in order to live.