“…be clothed with humility,” writes the Apostle Peter, “for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time… Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:5-6, 8-9).
The root of sin is pride. Lucifer tried to become like God and fell from heaven. Now he goes about, seeking to bring destruction into the lives of believers. The Serpent tempted Adam and Eve by saying, “If you eat the fruit, you will become like God.” Cain killed Abel because of pride. It is pride that says, “Grace allows me to do anything I want to do without repentance and without a change.” There is grace and there is forgiveness, but it comes on God’s conditions, not yours. The Psalmist wrote: “But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.” God’s conditions include genuine faith that changes your heart, your mind, your words, and every part of your being and lifestyle. Grace does not lead you into disobedience, but into obedience.
Pride makes you want to put Jesus down and make yourself Lord. Pride turns away from God because it says you do not need Him. Walking in grace requires humbleness because you can no longer boast in your own abilities; instead, you have to completely rely on what Christ has done for you. You must come to God empty-handed. Humility is recognizing that God is the source of everything that you have and need.
The story of “the prodigal son” is a powerful illustration of the truth of how humility enables us to experience God’s grace. The one son certainly abused his father’s grace—demanding his portion of the inheritance was in effect saying that he wished his father was dead. Then the son goes out and wastes this wealth in riotous living. After he lost everything and was living with pigs, he remembered his father: “he came to himself” (Luke 15:17).
He realized he was not in the right place. His father was far away while he was living with the pigs. His father’s servants lived a lot better than he did. Before you can receive God’s grace, you have to realize that you need God’s grace. Stop living in sin and return to your Father.
The son said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19). He humbled himself before his father and repented.
Genuine faith confesses sin—it does not hide it, does not apologize for it; faith repents of sin. The son humbled himself and knelt before his father. Of course, the father received him with grace. “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The Father is not mad at you, He is ready to receive you and welcome you home.
The father rejoices, “My son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24). The son was spiritually dead. His father’s love and grace never stopped, but when the son walked away the relationship died. God’s grace is always available, His forgiveness is always there, but if we are away from God enjoying riotous living, we will be dead to Him.
The son arose, returned, confessed, and repented. The son humbled himself and the Father lifted him up and gave him a robe of righteousness, a ring of authority, sandals that meant he was family, and gave him the fatted calf which represents provision. If you have been living in sin, go back to your Father. Humble yourself and let God raise you up. Go back to the original faith that got you saved in the first place when you believed in Jesus, when you surrendered to Him, and made Him Lord.