Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, ESV).
What’s one of the hardest things you do in a typical day or typical week? Something job-related? Something to do with your kids? Your marriage? Your in-laws? Something physical, like trying to muscle through your fitness program or your weight-loss goals? Is it perhaps something that’s not so hard to do if you only had to do it once, but somehow having to do it day after day, it gets to be nearly impossible?
Your hardest thing—what is it? You got it?
Now imagine doing it—that thing, that hardest thing—with both hands tied behind your back. Or with a stiff wind in your face. Or with a competitor blocking you at every turn, or obstacles popping up with each step.
Sometimes when people say, “Man, things are so overwhelming for me right now. I feel like I’m just toughing it out. Every day is harder than the day before”—sometimes the reason behind it is the push back of God’s almighty hand, dealing with human pride. It’s not just that He’s more passive about coming to the aid of a proud person. It’s not just that things don’t seem to go as easily for them. No—God “opposes” the proud. He makes things harder for them. He’s the force creating what might otherwise be chalked up to uncanny resistance or a string of “bad luck.”
So check what’s in your heart today. Is pride there? Are you telling Him (and others) what you will and will not do? Are you intent on getting what you want, no matter what it may end up costing somebody else? Are you enamored with your own success, striving for a reputation that’s better than others’? Are you focused on how you’re being unfairly treated, determined to make sure you get your grievances heard, that people know what’s being done to you?
Are you perhaps the reason why your hardest thing is so hard?
Because there is an alternative.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (italics added). As surely as the proud will eventually deal with a harder life than necessary, God eagerly moves toward the humble, and He extends His grace to them—His help, His strength, His provision, His presence, His peace, His supernatural enabling. Where forgiveness is hard, He gives you what you need to do it. Where a deadline is screaming, He gives you the perseverance to walk it through. Where the questions are impossible to answer, He gives you the faith to trust what He’s doing.
One of three things will happen in your life, going forward. (1) You will persist in your pride, setting yourself in opposition to God, or (2) God Himself will do something to humble you, which Daniel 4:37 says He is more than capable of doing [“those who walk in pride he is able to humble”], or (3)—and this is the right answer—you will “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10, NKJV).
The way to go easy on yourself is to humble yourself.
As hard as it may seem, in terms of the negative repercussions you can imagine if you truly humbled yourself—at work, at home, at church, in any of your relationships—is it really as hard as what pride can do? Pitting God against you? When He stands ready to shower the humble with grace?
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.