Text: Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
It is important to be extremely careful and exercise good caution whenever we hear our Lord Jesus Christ make general statements.
Specific instructions are given to specific people and may not apply to everybody.
But general statements are general and concerns anyone and everyone regardless of your location, creed, color, age and gender.
Matthew 23:12 is one of those sensitive general statements that Jesus made to anyone who cares to listen.
Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
The statement obviously is a two-edged sword having two parts to it. The negative and the positive.
The negative part of the scripture above is pride, while the positive part of the same scripture talks about humility.
The issue of pride is not something that just came up in this dispensation. The issue of pride as a matter of truth predates the existence of humanity.
Pride is as old as the existence of the angels.
So, pride is an issue that started from eternity, existed in time and yet extends to eternity.
Below is the history and prophecy concerning pride.
- Satan exalting himself in heaven and was cast down – pride goes before a fall
- God in response to satan’s pride stoop down to the earth to create a man. – God demonstrating Humility by stooping low to the earth.
- Satan again coming into the garden to deceive man into pride in the form of disobedience and rebellion leading to man’s fall – Gen 3:5, Isaiah 14:14
- God stooping down the more beyond the earth in the personality of Jesus going down the grave – Humility demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
- Redemption – Jesus rapturing the once-condemned seeds of Adam and exalting them to the highest place in the heavenlies.
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as (like) gods, knowing good and evil
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Pride is essentially trying to cut off dependence from God.
The parable of pride parable of the rich fool illustrates pride
In the story of this fool, I saw:
Diligence, Creativity and innovation, self-determination, industry and enterprise, .. I believe this story is good enough for a motivational master class.
But, in this same story, I did not see GOD nor anything that relates to the presence or workings of God. Not in one verse of the man’s diligent venture did he acknowledge nor make reference to God
And because God is not in the equation of this man’s life, I discern pride in the life of this man.
Truth be told, there are many like this man in our world who have taken their lives into their own hands. They describe themselves as self-made billionaire, self-made business mogul.. etc There are many fools on earth with this attitude of running the shows of their lives without acknowledging God.
Let me ask you: How often do you remember and acknowledge God in your daily activities????
The man in Luke 12 refused to acknowledge God in all of his endeavors.
- Who gave this man the good soil?
- Who allowed his seed to germinate and not die?
- Who granted him good weather and prevented floods and hurricanes from destroying his investments?
- Who prevented pests and pestilence from destroying his farm.
- Who gave him strength to do the job and did not allow sickness to hold him down?
- Who gave this fool breathe and life to live?
I strongly believe as you can discern from my questions that there is more to God in his life than he did or could do for himself.
It was therefore pride and foolishness that prevented him from seeing and acknowledging God.
Read James 4:13-16 – One of the symptoms of pride is self-boast. Self-boast is evil.
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
The high-paying job you have today is not just because you were brilliant and smart, God gave it to you.
The thriving business you have today is not just because you knew the right contacts and took the right opportunities; God gave it to you.
Humility – the good side of Matthew 23:12.
There is a perfect contrast between the attitude of satan and that of Jesus Christ.
Satan exalted himself and was cast down.
Jesus humbled himself and He was exalted.
Note that both pride and humility have more to do with the attitude rather than the action.
For satan, his attitude revealed pride before the action of pride. It was satan’s attitude that prompted the act of rebellion.
“I will arise above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High”. Notice, he was planning to, but he had not. Of course, he couldn’t.
For Jesus as well, his attitude showed humility before the action Philp 2:5 (NLT).
It was Jesus’ attitude of humility that prompted the act of obedience.
The 7 steps of Jesus’ humility from place of equality with God to the point of death as a criminal.
- He made himself of no reputation – He gave up everything about himself (His glorious royalty) except love. Jesus literally renounced His position as God and did not pretend about it. He earned it back after His humility was complete. That was why while He was here on earth, He frequently referred to himself as the Son of man.
- He was made a servant – Note He could have insisted to be a servant in the form of an angel as all angels are servants of God as well. He went below the levels of angels (Hebrews 2:7 – Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: )
- He was made in the likeness of a man.
- He was found in the appearance as a man
- He humbled himself as a man – he didn’t come as a superstar, model, king..etc. He mingled with other men in the streets of Nazareth and Galiliee and where-ever he found himself
- He died like every human.
- He died a shameful, disgraceful death on the cross.
After the 7 humility steps, God exalted Jesus upwards seven steps Phil 2:9-11
- Where God has highly exalted him
- God has given Him a Name
- That every knee should bow before Him
- Homage to Him in Heaven
- Homage to Him on earth
- Homage to Him from underneath the earth
- Every tongue should confess Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of the Father.
Benefits of Humility (Phil 2:12-15)
- Humility makes us obedient children of God. Pride cannot submit to obedience. And if it does in the presence of the master, it will not in the absence of the master (Phil 2:12)
- Humility allows God to work in us to do His will. The pride does not create space for Holy Spirit to work (Phil 2:13).
- Humility makes us shining stars in this dark world (Phil 2:15). The world is becoming darker everyday. All the elements of light we thought were secure has been taken away. But God wants us to shine as stars. The darker the world, the better our beauty as stars.
Every man should humble himself so God can exalt him. If a man humbles himself, itis honor, but if God humbles a man, it is humiliation.
Humble yourself today.