Matthew 23:12 – For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (NKJV)
As I was reading this morning this verse really caught my attention. It is so OPPOSITE of everything about our culture today which seeks to exalt itself at every turn.
Think about how things have changed in the last 60 years. Football players no longer score a touchdown, hand the ball to the ref, and maybe get a high-five or two from teammates. Now all they have to do is make ONE routine play… one tackle, one catch, one hit and they immediately jump up and start parading, dancing or strutting around wanting all the attention and exaltation that can be milked from the moment.
Alot of sports are that way now. Player have developed all manners of reactions that say “look at me”, “clap for me”, “I’m the man”, “worship me”. It’s a mindset that saturates professional sports but not exclusively.
Entertainers, politicians, actors, celebrities… it’s all about exalting them, getting attention, putting on a show, having the loudest and most prominent image.
But let’s not pick on the “elite”. Us “common folk” do the same very often with decked out cars we can’t afford, and the latest flashy clothes and technogizmos. We live in houses that stress us financially, and surround ourselves with all the right material things that announce loud “Iook at me, I’m a success.” We purchase lifestyles on credit that are far above our reasonable means all in the effort to live a life that appears to be of a certain status.
Here’s where I have to stop and do some tap dancing or I’ll be reading nasty emails all week…
No, having “stuff” does not necessarily mean you are trying to “exalt” yourself. No, having a nice car or house doesn’t mean YOU care about putting out an image of success. No, not all celebrities and sports stars do the “look at me, I’m the greatest” routine.
I’m speaking in generalities about the tone and common attitude of our society as a whole today. Generally speaking, the idea of being humble is dead. The idea and effort of personal exaltation is alive and well. Lest we play the hypocrite, we must admit that it is alive and well in the church too, from the pulpit to the pew.
It boils down to a personal evaluation. I cannot decide for you if the infection of self-exaltation motivates what you have and do. Only YOU can determine that for YOU. You cannot determine that for me either. We each have to take a good look at our lives and figure out if we do what we do, if we have what have, if we say what we say, if we think what we think in order to 1) exalt ourselves, or 2) show humility.
It’s a tough question, one that most people will never even attempt to ask.
Lord God, help us to examine our lives and determine with honesty if there is any way that we seek to exalt ourselves. Help us to be humble in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?