“I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other and that the taller we grew in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower.”
F. B. Meyer
Over twenty years ago I shattered my wrist as a result of slipping on ice during an Omaha frozen winter. We had only lived in here a little over a year at the time, but our church rallied behind, taking good care of us, by bringing meals, cleaning the house, and doing our laundry. One friend from church who lived in the same neighborhood, came over every few days to wash and blow dry my hair. She not only made me look better, but each time she faithfully asked how my heart was doing. I learned the days I was humble, grace abound. But as soon as my pride reared its ugly head in the form of anger and displeasure at the sorry state I was in, grace was gone. Even recently I discovered the correlation between humility and grace.
The best way I can describe my past few weeks is living in a season of grace. Grace is where there is peace within my heart, an unprecedented ease with which to accomplish the daily responsibilities of life, and unmerited favor from others. The other day though, anger came into my heart and immediately the grace I had been experiencing all week left me. When anger came in the door, grace went out.
If I look at grace and anger as companions to keep, grace is the one I hope will make its home within my heart. My fleshly pride in the form of anger is one companion I’d rather not have visit me. These two companions can’t co-exist for their natures are different. What they stem from, what fuels and releases them come from different sources. Anger’s home is pride, while grace’s abode is humility. Their roots are diametrically opposed to one another and as far as companions go, they can’t stand being in the same room as the other.
James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humility is the trigger which releases grace. Being humble puts you in the position to receive God’s wonderful grace. Humility is an act of our will, a choice we must make. If we don’t initiate the humbling process, I guarantee you, God will!
I love ‘hanging’ with my ninety-seven-year-old friend named Germaine. I frequently tell her, “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” She possesses godly qualities and character traits which I respect and desire to have within my own nature. I Corinthians 15:33 instructs us to choose wisely the companions we’ll keep, because “Bad company corrupts good character.” It’s prudent to hang with godly friends because you will inevitably become like those you spend time with the most. Choose hanging with the companion called humility over pride and you’ll look more and more like Christ.
How did I get rid of my nasty acquaintance called anger? I humbled myself and repented of my sin of pride and anger and chose to forgive those who offended me. When humility opened the door of my heart, grace was able to walk back in, take off her coat and stay a while.
“Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.”
1. Which companion makes its home most often within your heart: pride resulting in anger, or humility releasing grace?
2. Take a look at your closest friends. Do they call you up higher in the Lord or do they bring you down, taking you further away from the Lord?
3. If you’re struggling with pride or anger, I encourage you to humble yourself, repent of your sin and receive afresh and anew God’s wonderful grace.