“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
One of the most famous paintings in the world is Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. In it, God is rushing towards Adam from the clouds. Arms outstretched, they are almost touching, and it seems like all Adam has to do is ‘lift a finger’ and he will be connected with God.
It’s a common idea that we need to do our bit to strive to God and then he’ll do the rest, but it’s not what God teaches us in the Bible. He’s the one who does everything, and all we need to ‘do’ is recognise we are powerless without him – that is, to humble ourselves.
To be told that you’re powerless on your own doesn’t sound very empowering, but God doesn’t empower us by telling us to be ourselves and try harder, he does so by forming us to be like his Son by the power of his Holy Spirit. So once we recognise that we are saved purely by God’s grace, we can then do so much more than ‘lift a finger’ for God. We can be his tools to spread both good and the Good News in a world that sorely needs both – a privilege and a responsibility that’s truly humbling.