But he gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

James spent the previous verses chastising his audience. According to all the leadership manuals and counseling scripts, it’s time for some encouragement! His encouragement, however, doesn’t come in the form we might expect. He doesn’t build them back up by focusing on their skills or accomplishments. Instead, he points them toward God with that beautiful, tiny conjunction: but. In contrast to their quarrels and selfishness, God makes grace available—excessive amounts of grace!

God blankets our sinfulness and failures with this same grace (Rom. 5:20–21). There is no greater encouragement than this!

What does grace entail? It’s hard to define, but there’s forgiveness, power to live honorably, contentment, intimate companionship, a lifting up (James 4:10). Most important, grace, through faith, provides us with salvation (Eph. 2:8).

To whom does God give this grace? To those with the humility to recognize they need it. For the already humble, grace flows freely, but don’t take God’s opposition of the proud as judgment. Rather, He pushes against the proud, calling them to a process of submission (James 4:7–10) so they too can eventually, through humility, receive the same grace.

We cannot grab grace. In fact, the more we try to take it for ourselves (an act of pride), the less available it becomes. When we humble ourselves to ask for this grace, however, He opens His hand and pours it out upon us.

Demonstrate grace through humility to someone today.

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word and how it impacts our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives and writes in East Tennessee.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.