By Brooke Holt
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” – Psalm 25:8-9
Some things in life are absolutely certain and sure—the Lord is good and upright. We know this because Scripture tells us repeatedly. Also, we often know this to be true because we have experienced this about the Lord, and we know that the Lord’s character is immutable meaning that he never changes. He is not good and upright one day, then cruel and devious the next. Unlike humankind, God is always good, always upright, always the same. What wonderful news to us fickle humans who can be good and upright one day, then completely cruel and devious the next.
Knowing this immutable character of the Lord, the psalmist declares that it is the Lord who will instruct sinners in his way. There may be many voices in the world telling you how to get your life right, but there is only one true God who can instruct sinners and lead them out of darkness into light. Here’s the catch for God’s instruction: it only works for the humble. That does not mean that he won’t instruct others. His Word is available and just as true for your neighbor as it is for you. However, the reception of his Word makes all the difference.
Those who humble themselves before the Lord are the ones who will be faithfully led by him and taught his way. So, what does it mean to be humble before the Lord, and how do you cultivate this attribute into your life? The online dictionary defines humble as “not proud or arrogant; modest; having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience; low in rank, importance, status, quality” (dictionary.com). When you consider God and then consider yourself, do you recognize that he is your Creator? Do you consider that he is sovereign over all things, that he knows all things, that he has power over all things? Remembering who God is and who you are is the first step to being humble before him.
When you remain in this humble posture before the Lord, you open yourself up to fully receiving what he has to give. Whether that is instruction, grace, wisdom, love, or direction, a humble heart is poised and ready to be taught and led in his perfect will and way. The opposite of this humility is entitlement—demanding our own way, asserting our own plans, and being unwilling to bend our will to his will and to then lead a life of obedience.
If you wanted to learn the game of Pickleball, would you try to teach yourself, or would you go to a pro who had been playing and teaching for years? Personally, I am very excited about Pickleball, so I have had two lessons with a pro. I have watched online matches and videos; and I have read some articles so that I can learn the rules and scoring of the game. While I wish I was able to just walk out on the court and master the game, I know that I must receive instruction from one who truly knows the game. It seems pretty straightforward and simple, doesn’t it?
Yet, we often don’t demonstrate this humility before the Lord. Though we are his creations, we think we know better than him. We put ourselves above Scripture, deciding what should and should not be implemented in our lives. We far too often seek our will and our way instead of asking the Lord to teach and guide us. As scientists, theologians, or philosophers, we think we have mastered the understanding of the human body, religion, or the world. With such understanding and mastery, who needs God?
God remains the same. Whether you choose to humble yourself or exalt yourself before him, he is still God. Not just God but good and upright, perfect in all of his ways and understanding. For those who will humble themselves, he will instruct, lead, and teach his way. This Advent season, may we practice this humility before the Lord, asking him to lead us in his perfect will. That is how we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus and anticipate the return of Jesus.
How are you doing with being humble before the Lord? Ask him if there is anything he would have you to know about your posture before him. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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