SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
Key Verse: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
-- James 4:10
What does it mean to submit your life to the Lord? The recent experience of an American businessman may offer one example.
This man was invited to serve on a
Humanitarian Aid Team that journeyed to
He was advised that he would have to pay his own expenses for the trip, approximately $3500.
The idea seemed preposterous. He did not have the money to pay his way, but he was unable to dismiss the idea. The more he prayed about the trip, the more he began to feel that God wanted him to go. Finally, he gave up, promising the Lord he would go – if the Lord provided the money.
When he shared the proposal with his pastor and key leaders in his church, they not only encouraged him to go, but to take his teen-aged son along with him. Within two months, more than seven thousand dollars had been raised, passports and visas secured, and all arrangements made for a trip halfway around the world!
What his friends did not know was that the man was scared to death of making the trip. “I feared that I would never see my family again, that my son and I would die in a plane crash thousands of miles from home,” he confessed later.
Nevertheless, despite his fear, he decided he had to obey God. Even if it cost him his life, he believed God wanted him to go with the team to offer what he could in the service of others.
“Once there, however,” he shared after returning home, “I realized that God wanted me to make that trip so He could bless me. I was not there to be a blessing to others but to be blessed by God.
“The people we visited in that poor country honored me and my son by sharing with us the best they had to offer, in food, hospitality, and friendship. I was the first American to ever visit them, and they honored me because I cared enough to come and share helpful ideas with them,” he said.
“But it dawned on me that it was really God who was honoring me; he was honoring my obedience.” Tears streamed down his face as he said, “I realized that the kindness I was shown by these humble Asian people was actually the grace of God.”
“Had I not obeyed God, I would have missed this unbelievable blessing,” he concluded.
James warns us against mistaken attitudes, foolish pride, and wrong desires. If we are not careful, the devil will deceive us into thinking more of ourselves than we ought, and to desire the wrong things. Foolishly, we may begin to believe that we are wise enough and good enough, to judge others.
The way to avoid such wrong attitudes and desires is to remain continually surrendered to God. We are not God. It is helpful every day to say these words to ourselves: “God is God. I am not God.”
The counsel of James is solid. He urges us to “submit” and “humble” ourselves to God. Then God will “lift us up,” giving us the power to resist the devil and to refrain from arrogant and prideful attitudes.
Pride is an especially dangerous attitude. We are all prone to think and talk about what we will do tomorrow, when none of us knows how many tomorrows we shall have. We should be wise to memorize the words of James in verse 15: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
This summer I was reminded by blood clots that damaged my lungs how quickly life can end. For several days, I did not know whether I would live or die.
During that time of anxiety, I made a new surrender of my life to God. I humbled myself before the Lord and said, “Father, my life is in your hands. Cleanse me of all my sins. If you are ready for me to come home, then I beg you to receive me in the name of Jesus my Savior.
“Deliver me from fear, and give me peace about my life. If you give me an extension of time, please give me the grace and strength to use every moment to serve you and continue praising you as long as I have breath.”
This was my prayer in June, and it continues to be my daily prayer. I know of no better way to live than to live daily in humble submission to God, pleading for grace to serve and praise our Savior until He calls us home.
I hope this is your prayer also. If not, will you join me in it this very moment? If you do, you will find out that James is right. When you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift you up. He will. He will. You can count on it! (You may contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org) + + + +