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James 4:1-12: Submitting to God

I’m returning to blogging after a short break. I’m unsure what is causing the brain fog – the vacation or the autoimmune flare-up, but complete thoughts have been challenging for a few weeks. It is time now to finish what I started in James!

[God] gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:6-7 NLT


Submitting to God is a requisite element of the Christian life. It involves recognizing God’s sovereignty and trusting in His plan for our lives. Biblical humility is one aspect of submitting to God. It is essential to understand how it works in our spiritual lives.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

James 4:10 NLT

Humility is a recurring theme in the Bible. James says it is our pride that leads to quarrels, fights, and a divided loyalty between God and the world. On the other hand, biblical humility leads to grace, closeness with God, and a lifted-up honor.

Jesus is our example –

quote from proverbs about true humility to help us understand the signigicance of submitting to God

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Philippians 2:3-8

In Philippians 2:3-4, the Apostle Paul urged the Philippians to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who, even though he was God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage. Instead, he humbled himself by taking on the form of a servant, being obedient to death, and dying on the cross. This passage teaches that humility is expected in following Christ’s example and living a life that is pleasing to God. Matthew records Jesus’ teaching, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me ‘” (Matthew 16:24 NLT).

The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:11-12 NLT

Pride goes before destruction

In Matthew 23:12, Jesus teaches that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. This statement underscores the importance of humility in the Christian life and warns against pride.

True greatness is not manufactured and can only come from God as we obey Him. If we exalt ourselves, God will humble us. But if we humble ourselves, in due time, God will exalt us (1 Pet. 5:6).

Warren Wiersbe, Commentary on Matthew

Daily, we can practice humility by recognizing our limitations and submitting our will to God’s plan. Humility involves acknowledging our need for God’s guidance and direction in our lives and trusting that He knows what is best for us.


As we practice humility, we submit to God’s will, serve others with love and compassion, and experience God’s grace and honor. May we continually strive to humble ourselves before the Lord, trusting He will lift us up in due time.

A year or so ago, I wrote about worship and the posture of humility and submission. You can find those thoughts on worship at this link.


Jesus, you are the ultimate example
Of humility, stepping down from the heavenlies
Stepping down even to death on a cross —
To become one of us, to redeem us –
Knowing You could have clung to Your glory
Not grasping tightly what was
Rightfully yours – all because You loved
Me, Others, the whole world!
Create in me a submissive spirit,
Bend my will to Yours, dear Lord–
Squash the pride that claws to surface
Teach me always to draw near to You
Purify my desire to walk humbly with You,
All glory to God the Father, through Jesus the Son!

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