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Humility Matters When We Pray

The Power of Christ’s Lowliness

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Sermon Notes

Humble Yourself — Like God

God commands us to be humble. “Seek humility” (Zephaniah 2:3). “Put on . . . humility” (Colossians 3:12). “Have . . . a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). Jesus’s promise that God will exalt the humble enjoins us to pursue it (Matthew 18:4; 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14). And his apostles too say, “Humble yourselves” (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

And yet, humility, according to the regular testimony of Scripture, is not something we can just up and do. As we consider the positive examples of those who humbled themselves (from Josiah and Hezekiah to Rehoboam, Ahab, and Manasseh) — as well as the negative examples of those who did not (Pharaoh, Amon, Zedekiah, Belshazzar) — what becomes clear is that humbling first belongs to the hand of God. He initiates the humbling of his creatures. And once he has, the question confronts us: Will you receive it? Will you humble yourself in response to his humbling hand, or will you kick against the goads?

“Humble yourselves,” writes Peter, “under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). First descends his humbling hand. Then the creature has his turn: God is humbling me. Will I embrace it? Will I humble myself?

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