But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 (ESV )
Robin Roberts quotes her mother as saying “when you strut, you stumble.” I don’t know that I’m a strutter (Lord, I hope not), but I have come to desire the blessings of Grace and Humility; I yearn for more of each in my life. I am clear that when I hide in Him, my joy is complete and all is well. I should probably learn to stay there.
Step out in faith.
Don’t think about the ending (not your job).
Just Do (your job).
God will be glorified.
Just today, I had an object lesson in humility. A couple days ago, I set out for a training run that really made me proud. I took up running nearly three years ago as a way to stay sane, fit, give myself permission to meditate, worship, and pray (that’s HOW I get through a 3-5 mile run) and keep a lifelong commitment to honoring my temple. My last run was the best 5k time I’d ever logged; better than my first competitive run, when I was a few pounds lighter, well into my training season, and NOT running on a slightly weakened and arthritic knee. It was a faith challenge-run anyway. I ran, and it was good.
I am maturing as a runner. I used to watch the clock to see where I was on distance and time, not seeing the run as a complete piece, but rather components of the whole I had to check off. I don’t need to check the clock anymore, and my iPod regularly advises on distance. I pray, enjoy the music and the scenery, and appreciate my movement in and through space, intentionally staying present. So, I ran a couple days ago, and got up this morning thinking I might be able to get another run in for the week.
I have created a “long run” playlist, filled with jazz and classical pieces that are either live performances or complete suites. They help psyche me out. When I get weary, I tell myself to focus just until the end of this song, promising that then I can slow my cadence. Hey, I’m a pragmatist. I have songs on that list in excess of 10 minutes. They help me make it through.
Today, it was Miles Davis, calling me like the Pied Piper with “Someday My Prince Will Come.” I smiled and thought of my beloved. The cadence was perfect, smooth and easy. I didn’t feel any strain on my knee, the weather was cool but not cold and when I found my rhythm, it felt like I could run forever. So I ran. I ran, and I prayed. I ran, and I smiled. I ran, and it was good. Easy. Not a strain. At some point I did consider the pace of this run against the one earlier in the week, thinking it might be good if the times were competitive. Okay, so I strutted just a little bit, but only in my head.
What does the bible say about a strut? Matthew Henry explains it this way,
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble, Jas. 4:6. This is represented as the language of scripture in the Old Testament; for so it is declared in the book of Psalms that God will save the afflicted people (if their spirits be suited to their condition), but will bring down high looks (Ps. 18:27); …Two things are here to be observed:—1. The disgrace cast upon the proud: God resists them; the original word, antitassetai, signifies, God’s setting himself as in battle array against them; and can there be a greater disgrace than for God to proclaim a man a rebel, an enemy, a traitor to his crown and dignity, and to proceed against him as such? The proud resists God; in his understanding he resists the truths of God; in his will he resists the truths of God; in his will he resists the laws of God; in his passions he resists the providence of God; and therefore no wonder that God sets himself against the proud. Let proud spirits hear this and tremble—God resists them.
It’s not that we shouldn’t hold our heads high; we are of the royal priesthood. However, this lineage, this legacy comes exclusively through God the Father. It’s so not about us. We must not act, speak, or behave in a way that suggests any resistance to the Will of God. We do so at great peril. Humility is the way to go.
I wasn’t thinking about any of this as I finished my run. I knew I felt strong, accomplished and grateful. And then I checked my stats. My last run made me proud. This run left me quietly stunned, and brought home the lesson. I was still a little sore from a couple days ago, and moreso wanted to get in a second bite at the apple over trying to best my last outing. So, in faith, I ran anyway. And when it was over? Today’s run was 4.15 minutes faster than the best run I’d ever timed. It’s just the beginning of my training season. I could’ve kept going. It was ONLY GOD.
Here is the lesson:
Step out in faith.
Don’t think about the ending (that’s not your job).
Just Do (that is your job).
God will be glorified.
End of the lesson. To God Be The Glory. (TGBTG)
Today I am praying and playing with Sandra Heska King in Still Saturday...