- The sermon emphasizes the importance of humility as a means to receive God’s grace.
- The speaker contrasts the proud, who are distant from God, with the humble, who God draws near to and showers with grace.
- The sermon encourages believers to humble themselves before the Lord, to seek a close relationship with Him, and to live in a state of surrender to God’s will.
- The speaker asserts that humility is not just a mindset but also an action, and it’s through this humility that one can experience God’s favor and kindness intimately.
Thank you, Jackie, for sharing from the word of God. If you could turn with me to James 4, I’ll read a few verses starting in verse 6. James 4:6-10.
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7, ESV)
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10, ESV)
OK, let’s pray.
Father, we humble ourselves before you and you alone. We pray that you would meet us. We open up our hearts wide. We understand that a heart is the center of the spiritual life. And so, we start with our hearts.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you knock on the door of our hearts. And for those who have ears to hear, Lord, we want you to come in, dine with us, rule and reign over us. We want to fellowship with you, have a closeness with you throughout this year and for the rest of our days. Thank you, Lord. We pray that you meet us, encounter us during this service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
At the end of the year, everything is on the table, for me at least. I asked the Lord, “Do you want me to pastor?”
Do you want me to quit? Do you have another assignment for me? I lingered on that question a little bit longer this year. And the Lord, He came through. If you recall, Matthew 5, a salt that had lost its taste because we’re all called to be the salt of the earth.
And the Lord Jesus met me. I felt like, in those five minutes, that He downloaded a revelation to me for the message. It was almost like a recommissioning, and I felt like wherever I am, I’m going to be this salt, this light that He’s called me to be.
Last week, we covered Mark 12, the two greatest commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor. Love yourself, and He starts these two greatest commandments with the phrase, “The Lord is one.”
And so, we wouldn’t be wrong to say it’s time to love God our Father with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But whenever Jesus mentions the Lord, I think he’s saying primarily we should learn to love Jesus with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Last week, I also quoted from Matthew 15, when he’s calling out the hypocrites and he says, “you have all this lip service, you even preach in the synagogues, but your heart doesn’t listen. Your heart is far from me.”
And so, I’ve been asking the Lord, “How can I be close to you in my heart?” Because the primary way that we love him, first and foremost, is through and with our hearts. So, I’ve been asking, “How can I love you with my heart?” And the verse he gave me was from James 4:6, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, ESV)
Who needs grace today? Who needs grace today? Who really wants grace? If so, repeat after me, “Lord, I need grace.”
Lord, I really want grace. I need grace upon grace. Did you know there is an unlimited supply of grace? Did you know that? It’s waiting for all of us.
And today I want to teach you and motivate you to live life differently this year so that you and I can maximally receive grace upon grace upon grace. And may this year just far exceed our imaginations of what he can do. As he meets us, as he shows us kindness, as he surprises us in ways that we can’t even fathom now.
And so, I want to motivate all of us to seek out this grace that is available and is unlimited.
James 4:6 starts with, “God opposes the proud.”
And in Luke 1, it describes the angel going to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the angel says, “you will conceive of a child through the Holy Spirit. And this child will be the son of God.” And she receives this word from the Lord. She sings out a song of praise. The song of praise is recorded for us in Luke 1:51.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; (Luke 1:51, ESV)
Scatter is a very intense word. It is to disperse intensely. It is to separate from thoroughly. Whether it is the Lord sending the person away or whether it’s the Lord retreating himself from the person who is proud, regardless, there is a huge distance between God and that person who is proud. A huge distance.
James 4 also describes a proud person a different way.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16, ESV)
How do you know if you’re proud? You know, if you’re proud through your actions, primarily, and also your speech. This person is planning out their year. Say, “I’m gonna do this. I’m planning to do this. I’m gonna work hard. I have a goal. I’m going for it.” And God says, “Instead of that mindset, why don’t you say, ‘Does the Lord want you to do that? Are you asking the Lord whether I should do that? If the Lord wills, I will do it.'”
If he doesn’t, then who am I to presume that I am the master and Lord, and I’m just gonna plan out my year? Remember, God opposes the proud. God is very far from the proud. He is, there’s a great chasm, a distance between God and a proud person. So, let’s not think this way, let’s not act this way, let’s not talk this way. Because if that’s you, then God is far from you.
Whether God sends you, He scatters you into the thoughts of your own heart and the imaginations, and you’re just doing life on your own. Whether God scatters you and sends you far away or God just retreats and says, ‘Okay, you think you know life? You think you wanna do it your way?’ God is such a gentleman, He doesn’t twist our arm, He doesn’t force us to do His will. He says, ‘Okay, you think you wanna do life this way, this year, have at it, I will just remove myself.’
God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. God gives grace to the humble. What does it mean to be humble?
First of all, it’s positional. God says, to be humble is to be lowly. Whether it’s in your position, whether it’s in how you view yourself, it is a low, low position.
So humility is at least two things, as I look at Scripture. One is it’s a mentality. Secondly, it’s an action. Humility is a mentality.
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; (Luke 1:48, ESV)
This humble estate, it’s actually better translated humiliation. Somehow, the way she views herself or other people view her, she’s utterly humiliated. And the word for servant is quite a euphemism. She’s actually a female slave. That’s the literal translation.
We don’t know how she got this way, whether it was voluntary or involuntary. Presumably, she has to pay back some debts. She is a female slave.
When people look at her, they think she’s nothing, a nobody. She is utterly humiliated. And to this type of person with a humble estate, a slave girl, the angel says, she’s the one who is going to bear and conceive of Jesus Christ.
See, it’s a mindset. It’s a mentality. And Paul talks about it more fully when he talks about Jesus.
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:2, ESV)
So he’s talking about mindset and mentality.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:3-5, ESV)
This mindset is attached to Jesus. And when we’re in Christ and we’re learning from Christ, it now becomes our mindset. Jesus put himself so low, and we will read about that in a moment.
It is going with Jesus to a low estate, a humble estate, where other people, you now see them as, actually, they’re more important. I’m not the person that matters. Other people now, you have a switch of a mindset. Not just my spouse, my kids, everyone, even secular people are good to family, but a Christian is different, the mindset shifts. Now we look at everybody in the world, oh, you’re more important than me, you’re more important than me, it’s because I put myself so low.
Your interests, like maybe nobody else cares, but because I’m so low, your interests matter to me more than, in some sense, my own self-interest. I will put that aside. This is the mind of Christ. He went so low.
Humility is a mentality, and humility is also an action.
We read that in James 4.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10, ESV)
And that phrase, “before the Lord,” is important.
We don’t humble ourselves before anything in this world, anything in creation, any person. We never get on our knees and humble ourselves and say, “you’re a big deal, I’m gonna follow you, you have wisdom.” No, we don’t do life like that. Instead, we humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus, before the Lord, only before the Lord.
And then we wait for God, our Father, to raise us up, exalt us before all of creation, as he did with Jesus, the Son. And it’s a posture of surrender and repentance. Philippians 2:8.
Now we go into the mindset of Christ more fully. It says, in verse 8.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11, ESV)
And when we think about the life of Jesus, we look primarily at the ending of his life, where he prayed at Mount Gethsemane, “Not my will, your will be done.” He said, “Can this cup pass? Do I have to do it this way?” And the Father said, “Yes, this is the only way.”
And in prayer, he showed the full extent of his obedience. He said, “Not my will, your will be done.” And he says, “I will die on the cross as you say, Father.”
And we tend to focus on that last act of obedience. But Jesus, from day one, his life is fully obedient to the Father. He lived a life of obedience. We get snippets of it in scripture, like John 5:19.
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (John 5:19, ESV)
Can you imagine being so surrendered as Jesus is surrendered? He doesn’t do anything on his own. He is fully God. He has every right to just go out there and do life according to his full wisdom, because he is fully divine. But he submitted himself to the Father. And He says, “I’m not going to do anything on my own. I will wait and see what the Father does. Once I see it, that’s my marching orders for the day.”
And it’s not a program. It’s not autopilot. He doesn’t just show up and do the same thing week after week for His entire ministry. No, on one Sunday, He’s in the wilderness. He’s speaking to a crowd.
And we would think, okay, that’s a good use of your talents, Jesus. Why don’t you keep doing that? On the very next day, He like hides from the crowd. He’s running from the crowd. He doesn’t want to do that anymore. He did it for that day because the Father told Him to do it.
The next day, He’s like ministering to one person. That seems like a waste. Jesus, you have very limited time on earth and you’re going to minister to one person? You’re going to go to that city?
Why don’t you just keep going and just live on autopilot, just keep doing it? No, He is looking at the Father. The Father says, today, go to the Samaritan woman. Go to the, go to the Gerasenes, the demoniac. Even one person is worth more than the whole world. Just do what I say.
And Jesus, from day one, even carpentry, did He choose it? Or did the Father just say, this is how I’m going to train you as a man to be humble? Jesus was fully obedient. We read about also in John 14:10.
This is Philip asking Jesus to show him the Father, and Jesus answers, ‘Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does His works.’
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (John 14:10, ESV)
So every preaching, every teaching, every conversation, it was from the Father, and Jesus was fully surrendered to hear it.
I wish I could just go through Scripture, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and not even think about, “What am I going to preach next week?” It would be so much easier. But most of the week, I’m asking the Father, “What are you saying to me? What do you want to say on Sunday?” I fully surrender to you. It has to mean something. It has to be relevant for my life.
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul instructs Timothy to keep watch of two things — his life and his teaching or doctrine.”
What I preach has to be aligned with my life. It is a message, as we read in 1 Timothy 4, not only is it a message that saves the preacher. He said, this message also has the potential to save the hearers.
Jesus’ words are authoritative because they come from the Father. It’s not his own words. He could have just preached off the top of his head.
He is the Word of God, after all. But even his preaching, his teaching, what he did on a daily basis, everything was according to what the Father did and what the Father said. This is absolute humility, and Jesus is our example. He’s calling us to be humble like him.
It says in Matthew 11:25.
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 25yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Matthew 11:25, ESV)
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:27-30, ESV)
There are those who are proud in this world, who have all the degrees. They have wisdom and understanding according to this world, this world system, which is all about effort and intellect and putting in the time and going to school.
And this approach doesn’t work in the Christian life. That’s why, at some point, God said, “Get rid of all the commentaries. Why don’t you donate it? It’s no good.”
And it’s like, for me, who was like a student of the word, it’s like very odd that the Lord would say, “Give it all away.”
It’s not helping you in your preaching. It’s actually hurting you to rely on man’s interpretation. And now I’m secondhand regurgitating some other man’s interpretation of scripture. Why don’t you, Ray, come to me and learn from me and wait for revelation? It’s a different type of approach. We don’t go with our intellect. We go with our heart. And we ask for revelation. We ask Jesus to meet us in our heart. Revelation is only for the little children. To the worldly wise, to the intellectuals of our society, things are hidden. This is just how it works.
But if you’re humble like a little child, you’re a fisherman, you’re a carpenter, you’re a female slave, you have nothing, everybody mocks you, you’re humiliated in this world, that kind of a humble person, Jesus says, I will come to that person. I will meet that person. I will reveal things to that person.
Jesus says, “Come to me and learn from me.” And how does Jesus describe himself? He says, “I’m gentle and lowly of heart.” See, humility is a mentality. It’s an action. Mentality is really hard to get at.
But actions and speech are much easier to gauge whether we’re humble, genuinely. Like, do we actually go to Jesus as he says in his word? Is that a regular practice in your life and mine? Are we learning from him directly?
Jesus says, “Learn from me.” And so, if we are a Christian for so many years and we’re not gentle, we’re not lowly in heart, then who are we learning from? Not from Jesus. If we’re learning from Jesus, we will become like him. We will become gentle.
And so, if you have pastors and church leaders who are harsh, who have a high view of themselves, who are high and mighty, who are they learning from? Maybe they met Jesus many decades ago, but clearly, they don’t know Jesus well. That’s our only conclusion. If they know Jesus, they will be gentle even to the weakest brother and sister in the church. They will be a kind of person whose love covers over a multitude of their sins.
They’re a kind of person who’s not going to yell at them because they made a mistake. They have the heart of God. And this comes from a lowly heart, a lowly heart, a humble heart.
There are general actions and speech, like how you carry yourself, like you know a tree by its fruit, like people who know you well, like what kind of fruitful person, like what’s coming out of your life, what kind of aroma.
These are like general actions and speech that we can all evaluate in ourselves. There are also much more specific actions and speech which pertain and relate to our obedience to the Lord.
In Matthew 7:21, a set of verses I quote often, it says…
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21, ESV)
And then we read the other verses that follow, and it seems like these are the will of God, aren’t they? Like casting out demons, prophesying, and doing mighty works.
It sounds like this would qualify and be categorized as the will of God, and yet, Jesus says, “This is not the will of God that I was asking for.” Because this kind of will of God, you can do it with autopilot. Like you meet Jesus once, he saves you once. For the rest of your ministry, you’re just on autopilot.
You don’t learn from Jesus, you don’t become like Jesus, you don’t ask the Father, you’re not really surrendered. Everything is on autopilot. And how many ministers, how many pastors do Christian life on autopilot.
I’m just going to keep showing up. Church, keep doing the same thing. We’re going to keep on evangelizing. We’re going to plant churches. We’re going to do missions. It’s all on autopilot.
It’s much different the way Jesus did ministry. “Father, what do you want me to do today? Oh, the crowd’s today. What do you want me to do the next day? Oh, go to this one person.”
It’s not autopilot. It’s surrendered. It’s, “I will only do what the Father tells me to do.”
It’s so much more difficult to do life this way as Jesus is modeling for us. Nothing is autopilot. That’s why I don’t presume that I will be a pastor all the way to the end. At any point, the Lord can say, “That’s enough, Ray, you’ve done the job. Good job, now I have something else for you.”
It’s not up to me to decide how my life is gonna go, where I’m gonna live, what church I’m gonna do, what kind of ministry assignment I’m gonna have. It’s not up to me.
It is somebody who is fully surrendered, who asks, “What do you want me to do? What do you want me to say? Who do you want me to go to?” Jesus did life this way, and now he’s inviting all believers, “Do life this way, by being utterly surrendered, be humble before the Lord.”
It says in Ephesians 2:10…
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
Even before the foundation of the world, God hand picked you. He knew you would be alive in the year 2024, and there are a set, or a series of good works this year that he has for you. But it’s up to us. Will we discern them? Will we walk in them? Are we on autopilot? Are we just doing the same thing year after year?
Or are we really surrendered to the Lord? And we find out, oh, today there’s some good works that I didn’t do before, now he’s asking me to do it. And we need to discern it, we need to walk in them.
This is a much more specific will of God that is related to our obedience. It also says in Mark 3…
33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35, ESV)
So, there’s a general will of God, but then there’s the specific, God-ordained, predestined good works that are tailor-made, custom for you and me. We individually have to discern them, find them, ask the Lord, ask for confirmation, and then once the confirmation comes, boldly, courageously do it with God’s heart.
Humility is tied to obedience in very specific ways that are custom-made for us. And so, as a church, should we just hire a business consultant and say, “What do we need to grow?” Churches actually do that.
Churches hire strategists, and maybe they hire a certain kind of a pastor and that pastor. What many churches, because I’ve gone through some interviews now, are looking for is a CEO. They don’t ask about spiritual life. They don’t ask about growth, spiritual growth. They ask, “In 12 months’ time, what is your plan to see numerical growth? What is your strategy?”
Is that how we’re supposed to do church? Using man-centered wisdom, business consultants. I go into a brand new church. How am I supposed to know what 12 months later is going to look like? I don’t even know who you are. I don’t even know what gifts are present. I don’t know what offices in the church people have.
It really comes down to it’s very tailor-made, and we need to discern it. We need to ask the Lord for a strategy. It’s not just a CEO type saying, “This is what worked in my church context, now let’s apply it without even thinking, because this is how we grow.”
Let’s just have a wonderful worship band, let’s have a children’s program. This is how churches grow, let’s just hire these people, let’s just do it. Many churches do church this way. But here, we refuse, because it’s not up to us, it’s not man’s clever plans, we’re asking the Lord for strategy.
And so, if he says, just stay the course, just be faithful, whether it’s to 1,000 people, whether it’s to 10 people, just be faithful. If that’s what he says, so be it. It’s not up to me.
But at least, we should ask the question, “What do you have for us, Lord?” As a church, we ask. Individually, we also ask. You had a certain job last year, you did life a certain way last year. Is it just rolling into this new year, you haven’t asked? Did you ask the Lord, “Should I continue? Do you have something new for me?” These are signs that you are humble before the Lord, and you are not the master and lord of your own life.
Because we ask the Lord for critical things, which are maybe less than 5% of our lives, but the other 95% of all the smaller things, if we don’t consult the Lord, are we humble or are we proud? Who is the master of your life? Who is the Lord of your life?
Why is it important to be humble? And this is my main point, why is it important? God showed me, He says, “God gives grace to the humble.” He showed me this week, the difference between mercy and grace.
Mercy, if you define it, because in Luke 10, who was the neighbor? It’s the one who showed mercy. Not the priest, not the Levite, but the Samaritan who took time and nursed a half-dead man, a half-dead man lying on the side of the road, nursed him back to health. And the one who showed mercy, Jesus says, do likewise.
And so I ask, okay, there’s mercy, but there’s also grace. What’s the difference, Lord?
Mercy is pity and compassion. So, a lot of times when you see God as compassion, God has compassion, it’s actually mercy. And it’s especially relevant when it comes to salvation. Because, like a person who is half-dead, if that’s a metaphor for our lives before we were Christian, we were dead in our transgressions and sin. We were utterly helpless and hopeless.
What do we need in that state? We need mercy. This is primarily for people who cannot respond to God. It is for people who are non-Christians or someone who met Jesus years ago. And they’ve deviated from the narrow way.
They’ve let go of Jesus, and they’ve become blind and become arrogant. They’ve become harsh; they’ve become proud. God is now opposing them, even though they’re in the ministry. God is far from them; they are far from God. That person also in the church needs mercy.
But for the rest of us who are trying our best to humble ourselves before the Lord, what do we need? We need grace. This is God’s kindness to us. This is God’s gift to us. It is a blessing; it is favor that he gives.
And James 4:6, it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, ESV)
When you have a gift, I mean, I guess you can mail it if you live far. But if you live close to somebody, you’re in the same zip code, and you have a gift, what do you do? You meet that person face to face. You hand the gift to the person. Because I think this type of grace, this kind of gift, requires proximity.
And so, when we receive grace from Jesus, kindness from Jesus, when Jesus heals you, when Jesus delivers you, when Jesus shows you favor, it means that he was right there with you, close. Remember at the outset, I said, hearts that are far from him, God opposes the proud. God is far from the proud. But to the humble, God is close.
Meaning, Jesus shows up at your door and delivers a gift of healing, of blessing, of favor. He’s close to the humble. We might think sometimes God just zaps you from heaven. Like, it’s a hail mary pass. You’re like 50 yards down the field. He’s going to throw a hail mary of a gift. No, he came to you and gifted you.
So, when my back got supernaturally healed in the middle of the night, I know Jesus was in my bedroom. That’s what it means. This grace is hand-delivered. It is only for the humble.
That’s why it says in James 4:8…
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8, ESV)
Lord. If you have this mindset, this action, this verb of pattern of humbling yourself before the Lord, you’re drawing near to Him.
It matters, like you want to be close. God’s promise is He sees that heart of humility. He sees that desire for closeness. He says, “I will draw near to that brother, that sister.” We see this in Luke 15, the prodigal son.
And I’ll end with this. The prodigal son thought he knew life. He was proud. He said, “Give me my inheritance.” And he just went off his way. He squanders everything. And then a moment of clarity comes. Jesus must have met him as he’s eating among the pigs. He comes to recognize his state. He says, “I need to go back to my Father’s house.” He is so humble. He says, “When I go back to my Father’s house, don’t even treat me like a son. I don’t deserve that. I would just be a hired hand.”
Just treat me like a servant, a slave. He’s so humble. He’s come from proud and on his own to really low, even below a son. And he takes a step forward to the Father’s house.
And the Father sees him on the horizon. He is drawing near to the Father. What does the Father do? He doesn’t wait on the porch. You draw near to the Father in humility. The Father sees you from a distance. He draws near to you, meaning he runs to you.
You just take one step toward the father. The Father will take a thousand steps and run to where you are. That is the principle. Draw near to God. He will draw near to you.
And so, if we are humble, if you humble yourselves before the Lord, God says He gives grace to you. He is close to you. There is unlimited grace. There is grace upon grace.
So, if you want a lot of grace. As all of us in this place said in the beginning, you want grace. How do you access this grace? You humble yourself before the Lord. God sees that heart. He draws near to you.
If you’re proud, there’s no grace for you. Grace is cut off. You’ve cut off the supply line of grace. But if you’re humble, there is God’s promise. He opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
Okay, let’s pray.
God, thank you for unpacking that simple verse that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.Forgive us for our pride. Forgive us for our dullness when we were cast out of your presence, when you became distant from us. We didn’t even perceive it, Lord.
We were lost in the imaginations, the thoughts of our own hearts. But Lord, we want to do life differently this year. We want grace. We really want grace upon grace.
Lord, you give us a simple formula. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and receive grace upon grace upon grace. Whenever we receive grace, we know that the giver of these gifts came near to us.
Jesus met us. Jesus showed us kindness. Jesus gifted us with favor. Lord, now we understand every time we receive grace, you came near to us.
Thank you, Lord, for showing that to us through your Word. As we close out this service, we draw near to you, and we know that once we take one step toward you, Father, you will take many, many steps and draw near to us. Thank you, Jesus, for your body that was broken and your blood shed. We humbly come before you. We want to learn from you.
Teach us how to cast all of our burdens to you, all of our questions to you, all of our uncertainties to you, every decision to you, and learn from you and become like you, gentle and lowly in heart. Lord, this is the only way to do life. This is the only way to change. This is the only way to receive grace. Show us grace as we close out this service. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.