For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted .(Luke 18:14)
There is a strutting tendency in many of us. You might not be perfect, but you’re not at all bad. Yes, you might do wrong at times but there is a good reason why. There are excuses you could bring forward in your defence as to why you acted in a certain way. Basically, and deep down, you are pretty good.
This is a deep human trait which we can even see in the opening chapters of the Bible. When God confronted Adam, he was quick to shift the blame back onto God:
[God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:11–12)
You gave me the woman. She gave me the fruit. I really can’t be to blame. In fact, really it’s your fault. You can’t really accuse Adam of being humble!
Yet humility is really the key to the Christian life. When we come before God in prayer, should we not shrink to nothing in the presence of his eternal majesty? This is not to hate yourself, or think you are useless, it is just in the face of Almighty God you pale somewhat! To be clothed in humility before God is to allow yourself to be exalted by him. To exalt yourself is simply a path to disappointment.