Am I remembering to humble myself before others so that I will be exalted, rather than humiliated?
8 "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:8-11
Sometimes we see a celebrity and say, “Wow, they are so humble.” They may very well be, but my experience is that it’s easy to look and act humble when everyone thinks you hung the moon. Trying to be humble when you really are nothing and your circumstances are in the toilet is not quite as easy. It was easy for me to feign humility when I was living the “good life” and people were telling me I was going to be the next Zig Ziglar.
Once, I told a few close friends I was struggling with pride and they were shocked, saying, “I don’t see that at all Mike!” It was because I was so good at hiding it. I honestly think I was one of the most prideful (not arrogant) people I have ever met. It came from my deep, deep insecurity.
As we can see from this teaching, desiring honor and being honored is not a bad thing. The bad thing is when we attempt to honor ourselves, rather than allowing God or others to honor us as a result of our humility. This is a major area that I want to continually improve in. Even writing this book challenged my thinking in this area. After all, when does talking about your experiences and testimony, become you trying to honor yourself? For me, it is an issue of my hearts true motive. I am so sensitive to this that I’m still reluctant about sharing the testimonials that I receive from others, for fear of being seen as trying to exalt myself.
For the last few years, I have asked the Lord to put me in a position to Honor Him greatly through my story and His dealings with me. My biggest desire and greatest happiness is to see Him glorified, through the genuine and heartfelt desire of others to love Him and obey Him. In my impatience, I fell into the devil’s temptation to rush ahead and start promoting myself before God was ready for me to move. This meant I needed to try to promote and honor myself rather than waiting on God. I only want to be heard by others so that people will hear what I’m saying about Him, but I suffered the consequences for my sin and not waiting for God.
Today, there are a few stories building in my life that are astonishing. Perhaps when God comes through on those promises, many more will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord (Ps 40:4).
This principle applies to both our relationships with God and people. In essence, we are to see ourselves as lowly and to allow God and others to honor us, rather than attempting to honor ourselves. May God help us to continually trust Him in this area.