WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 31, 2021
TOPIC: STOP SELF-EXALTATION
BY T. O. BANSO
“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 New King James Version).
Exaltation is a good thing. God is not against it. People work hard to occupy exalted seats or positions. Many pray to God to crown their efforts with success in this regard. People have shared testimonies of answers to prayer for their elevation. God is interested in your exaltation but He is against self-exaltation.
What is wrong with this type of exaltation is that it’s by self - trying to elevate one’s status, position, importance, and so on, by self. Exaltation by self doesn’t have God’s approval. Don’t exalt yourself. Let God do it; let others exalt you.
Those who exalt themselves set themselves against God. Their self-exaltation could lead to premature exposure. They could provoke avoidable attacks and opposition against themselves. They could create unnecessary enmity for themselves. This is not saying that those exalted by God and others would have no opposition or enemies, but the dimension would be different.
Self-exaltation starts with self-deception. As the proverb goes, “To deceive oneself is very easy.” Someone deceives himself that he is the best or is better than the rest. Not only that, but he could also be telling them and showing off. He deceives himself to believe that a certain seat or position is for him because there is nobody as brilliant or as qualified as he is. He could go about telling people about his qualities and readiness to occupy the seat.
“Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king‘ and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him’” (1 Kings 1:5 New King James Version). He deceived himself. The reception he organized the day he made himself king was going on when he received the news that David, his father, had made his younger brother, Solomon, the king. That was the end of the reception.
Obadiah 3-4 says, “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD” (King James Version)
In this scripture, the prophet Obadiah was talking about Edom, the land inhabited by the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Israel), Edom became an enemy of Israel. It did not only hate Israel, but it also supported her enemies against her. The LORD sent Obadiah to prophesy His judgment upon her as He purposed to make her small among the nations and she shall be greatly despised.
Obadiah 3 says Edom was deceived by the pride of her heart. Because she lived in the clefts of the rock and made her home high in the mountains, she said, “Who shall bring me down to the ground?” But the LORD said though she had exalted herself as the eagle and set her nest among the stars, He would bring her down. Edom exalted herself but God would bring her down. This is always what God does to anyone who exalts himself.
Jesus said, “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 New King James Version). Luke 14:11 says the same thing. The Greek word translated exalts is hupsoo and it means to elevate.
In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of a man who exalted himself and another man who humbled himself. Jesus said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’” (Luke 18:10-12 New King James Version).
This Pharisee deceived himself to think that he was better than the tax collector. He listed the bad things the tax collector was doing but only talked about what he considered the good things he was doing. He was silent on the bad things he was doing! Thus, he deceived himself to believe that he had no sin. He exalted himself before God.
1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (New King James Version).
How did the tax collector pray? Luke 18:13 says, “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (New King James Version). He didn’t exalt himself before God; he humbled himself. He admitted he was a sinner and pleaded for mercy. Jesus said the tax collector went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (verse 14).
God hates self-exaltation and most people hate it also. Self-exaltation is foolishness by someone who has deceived himself like that Pharisee. Proverbs 30:32 says, “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth” (New King James Version).
Someone could be rich; he shouldn’t exalt himself. Another could be poor, he shouldn’t exalt himself! Yes, some poor people exalt themselves! Nobody should think of himself more highly than he ought to think (Romans 12:3). God can raise the poor out of the dust and lift the needy out of the ash heap (Psalm 113:7). Hannah says God raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes. And make them inherit the throne of glory (1 Samuel 2:8). But nobody should exalt himself.
Whatever your current status, high or low, don’t exalt yourself; let God exalt you. “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Psalm 75:6-7 New King James Version).
Make sure you don’t emulate some people who think of themselves more highly than they truly are and act bigger than they are before their superiors. They are exalting themselves before those God could use to exalt them. This is foolishness. “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of the great; for it is better that he says to you, ‘Come up here,’ Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen” (Proverbs 25:6-7 New King James Version).
Stop self-exaltation. Lucifer started self-exaltation. He deceived himself and wanted to exalt himself before the One who could exalt him. “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:13-15 New King James Version).
Did you see that self-exaltation ended in humiliation? God always brings down those who exalt themselves. “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Remove the turban, and take off the crown; nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted” (Ezekiel 21:26 New King James Version). Take note of this phrase in this scripture: Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. God will humble the exalted and exalt the humble.
Don’t exalt yourself; let God exalt you. Don’t praise yourself; let others do so. “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2 New King James Version).
When you are invited to a feast, don’t be deceived that you’re the most important guest and go to sit on the special seat. That seat may have been reserved for a more important guest. This is exactly how Jesus put it: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (Luke 14:8-9 New King James Version).
Jesus continued, “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (verses 10-11 New King James Version).
I have seen young people, including pastors, who should sit down and learn from their seniors or superiors but try to exalt themselves before them. They elevate their personality and try to show them what they know instead of keeping quiet and learn. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility” (Proverbs 18:12 New King James Version).
Proverbs 16:18 says a similar thing: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (New King James Version). Also, Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (New King James Version). Be humble. Someone’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour (Proverbs 29:23).
Don’t deceive yourself or be deceived. Don’t exalt yourself. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10). Don’t boast. James 4:16b says all boasting in one’s arrogance is evil. Paul says anyone who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done (1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17). He also says he will only boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to him, and he to the world (Galatians 6:14).
Don’t exalt yourself because of your wisdom, might, riches, or whatever you have (Jeremiah 9:23). Stop self-exaltation. It is foolishness.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of self-exaltation; forgive me. Holy Spirit, help me to humble myself for God to exalt me. Deliver me from the self-deception that makes one engage in self-exaltation. Keep me humble Holy Spirit. I shall not think of myself more highly than I ought to think. I shall not exalt myself before those I should humble myself.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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