Category: Surrender

Exaltation of the Humble

 

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

From Adam we inherit the instinct to meet our enemies head on, to try to win by direct assault, and it is only after many shocking failures that we learn that victories are not so won in the realm of the spiritual. The carnal approach usually does little more than to alienate the enemy still further from us and, worse than all, it puts us in a position where God cannot help us. The enemy never quite knows how to deal with a humble man; he is so used to dealing with proud, stubborn people that a meek man upsets his timetable. And furthermore, the man of true humility has God fighting on his side — who can win against God?

Strange as it may seem, we often win over our enemies only after we have first been soundly defeated by the Lord Himself. God often conquers our enemies by conquering us. He defeated Esau by defeating Jacob the night before on the bank of the Jabbok. The conquest of Esau took place in his brother Jacob. It is often so. When God foresees that we must meet a deadly opponent, he assures our victory by bringing us down in humbleness at His own feet. After that, everything is easy. We have put ourselves in a position where God can fight for us, and in a situation like that, the outcome is decided from eternity.

by A.W. Tozer

Denying Yourself

John MacArthurby John MacArthur

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed” (Dan. 9:4).

God will not respond to self-righteous prayers.

In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable to people who were trusting in their own self-righteousness. He said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

“But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (vv. 10-14).

Apart from God’s mercy we cannot enter into God’s presence. The tax-gatherer knew that and pled for forgiveness. The Pharisee missed the point and went away without forgiveness.

Like the tax-gatherer, Daniel approached God with an attitude of confession and self-denial. He could have reminded God of his years of faithful service while in Babylon, but that didn’t enter his mind. He knew that in himself there was nothing to commend him to God. His only thought was for mercy for himself and his people, that God’s purposes could be realized through them.

As a Christian, you have the wonderful privilege of boldly entering into God’s presence “with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). That privilege is rooted in God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice and leaves no room for presumption or self-righteousness. Always guard your attitude in prayer so that you don’t unwittingly slip into a Pharisaic mentality.

by John MacArthur