“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Explanation and Commentary of James 4:10
In the midst of a powerful section of the book of James, who was the biological brother of Jesus and the leader of the church in Jerusalem after Peter left on his missionary journeys, this verse has universal application. In context, James has been dealing with the tendency of Christians to act like the world, fighting and quarreling because of the anger brought about by unfulfilled lusts. He, like Jesus, equated this anger with hatred and murder. The root of these fights is pride, which will be the undoing of anyone, including Christians, who fail to deal with it where it arises.
The remedy is simple, “Humble yourselves.” There is a sweet spot for the believer that to stay in will be joy and contentment. First, as image-bearers of God, we have an enormous privilege of being. And as redeemed, adopted, image-bearers, we have even more privilege. This is what we call our identity in Christ. That said, there is all the reason in the world to be confident in Christ, and in who we are as his children. But at the same time, we have no reason to set ourselves above other image-bearers. In fact, we’ve been rescued from playing the comparison game at all. And we live in constant awareness of the greatness of God. We are confident as image-bearing humans, but we know that God is infinitely greater than we are, and so we humbly submit and worship him, living our lives for his glory—the glory that he deserves for who he is, and what he has done.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of James 4:10
#1 “Humble yourselves before the Lord,”
If you are not feeling humble, a good remedy is to go before the Lord. Consider Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-8. Consider Peter when he saw the power of Jesus displayed (Lk 5:8). The awe and humility that resulted were the right response.
#2 “and he will lift you up.”
Philippians 2:8 says that Christ humbled himself and came down from heaven to serve even unto his death. As a result, God has exalted him above all others. As Jesus said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Lk 14:11).
Bible Study on James 4:10
Expert Overview of James
Biblical Translations of James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.