“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
The way up is always down in God’s kingdom. But we need help in humbling ourselves. It is not something we’re naturally prone to do. To the contrary, the penchant of every man is to admire himself and desire others to do the same. We would be more than glad to receive the accolades of men as we walk down the “runway” of life. “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew …” (Ps. 39:6)
We can spend our whole lives looking for validation and affirmation from others. And what does the Lord tell us will happen when we parade our wares for the praise of men? We will be abased. What we want will prove elusive. The honor we believe to be our due will be withheld.
Where will this humiliation leave us? Dejection, indignation, retaliation can be our response when others don’t give us what we believe we deserve. But what does the Lord say about the best of men, apart from the working of His grace? “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” (Ps. 39:5)
And so what must the Lord do to keep us humble when we are apt to exalt ourselves? He will use someone, anyone, even a messenger of Satan, to cut us down to the proper size. The stripes of men will be laid upon us, even unjust buffeting. He will make all our beauty to be consumed. “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity.” (Ps. 39:11)
What is God after in all this? The confession of our mouth which says, “I am nothing without You, Lord. You alone are my glory and goodness. I have nothing to glory in but You.”
Now, He can exalt us. Now, He can clothe us with His everlasting beauty. Now, He will praise us.