How to Get Back Up When Life Has Knocked You Flat

If we want God to lift us up, we’ll need to stop denying that we’re down
3 min read

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:10

Life can be humiliating. Most of the time we can manage to avoid public embarassment, but when it happens, it makes us want to crawl under a rock.

I recently had a gentleman whom I hadn’t seen in 15 years tell me – in front of a crowd of 100 people – how much older I looked since he last saw me. Gee, thanks.

But the upside about being humbled is that it gives us a running start toward humbling ourselves before God. And though it feels like a stretch, the Bible says that when we humble ourselves before God we are assuming the most powerful and uplifting position possible.

Take King Josiah from the Old Testament, for example. When Josiah got some really bad news about what was going to happen to the capital city of Jerusalem, he emptied himself of pride and with a contrite spirit, he prayed. He didn’t bother trying to defend, excuse, or explain away bad choices. He just sorrowfully acknowledged the situation for what it was and asked God for mercy. You can read the whole story here.

And what do you know, God heard Josiah’s prayer and changed the plan:

Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord…I also have heard you, declares the Lord. -2 Kings 22:19

At least during Josiah’s lifetime, a disaster was averted. Because Josiah, the most powerful individual in the land, chose to humble himself before God and confront the brutal facts, God elevated him and those in his care to a better, safer place.

But the upside about being humbled is that it gives us a running start toward humbling ourselves before God.

The problem with humility is that it isn’t a posture that comes naturally to us. Our default mode is self-preservation by attempting to control and manipulate circumstances in our favor.

But there comes a time when this approach simply isn’t enough. And that’s when it becomes clear that the only way up is down. We will not truly rise until we are ready to drop into the lowlands of selfless humility. In a world that claps loudest for the boastful and self-assured, we must remember it is not so in Heaven, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.

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