Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)

“Look at me! Look at me!” Although we expect children to say those words, how frequently do we live them as adults? Don’t we find it tempting to spend our lives seeking the approval of parents, peers, and strangers? We may outgrow the need for others to clap when we take a few steps, say new words, or eat our veggies, but what about our indignation or frustration when no one applauds our latest promotion or that terrific service project we organized? Don’t they know how hard we worked?

James described such selfish desires and misplaced motives as a source of both internal and external conflict. More significantly, they interfere with our relationship to God. Rather than exalting ourselves and trying to impress others, James urged submission to God and his plan.

Only when we give God our all—self, possessions, relationships, and desires—can we discover our full potential and benefit from the abundance he holds in store. God desires for us a humble heart like his own, yet he leaves the choice with us. Will we seek to wrap ourselves in a cloak of self-righteousness or momentary glory, or will we allow God to envelop us in his never-failing mercy and love, and lift us to heights unknown?

Although the ayes may hold sway in a business meeting vote, the I’s definitely do not in the eyes of the Lord.

Try spending an entire day without saying I, me, my, or mine.

Diana C. Derringer teaches Sunday school and serves with her husband as a friendship family to international university students.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.