God Gives Grace to the Humble

By Michael Brown Published on July 8, 2024

An old man of God once said to me, “No one can change God’s opinion about you but you.” In the end, that is the only thing that matters: What is God’s opinion of you?

The issue is not what other people think about us, nor even what we think about ourselves. The only issue is what God thinks of us.

He is the ultimate and final Judge, and His verdict is all that counts. The wonderful news is that He is a perfect Judge.

He can’t be bribed. He can’t be tricked. He can’t be intimidated. He doesn’t have bad days. He shows no favoritism. He uses equal weights and measures.

Better still, He desires to bless us. He delights in showing mercy. He looks for opportunities to forgive. He would rather acquit than condemn.

This is amazing news.

Eternal Perspectives

And, to repeat, no one can influence His opinion about you other than you. He knows the facts perfectly. He knows our lives completely. He knows all the surrounding circumstances intimately. And that means that all our attention, all our effort, all our focus, needs to be on one thing and one thing alone: submitting ourselves fully to the will of God.

If we have His favor, we have everything. If we have His smile, we are rich. If He blesses us, no one can curse us. If He opens a door before us, no one can close it. If He backs us, no one can stop us.

Conversely, if He curses us, no one can bless us. If He shuts a door before us, no one can open it. If He opposes us, no one can promote us.

As a public figure, I could go online right now and find endless words of love and appreciation about me and the ministry God has called me to do. I could also find endless words of hate and approbation. I could find comments praising me as a wonderful man of God, and comments damning me to Hell as a child of the devil.

This is to be expected for any ministry leader who weighs in on controversial issues, and the better you are known, the more you will be both loved and hated.

Yet none of this means anything in itself.

What Forgiveness Feels Like

What matters is what God knows about me and His assessment of my life and ministry work. All the praises of the people will do me no good if He is displeased, and all the howls of the critics will do me no harm if He is pleased. Therefore, pleasing Him is all that matters.

And this is where I would like to share something I have learned in my walk with Him that began in 1971.

It is something I have learned well over the decades precisely because I have made so many mistakes — as a result of which I have had to ask both God and people to forgive me, especially for things I have said.

In my early days as a believer, exactly two weeks after the Lord instantly set me free from shooting drugs, I lost my temper in a very ugly way, speaking angry, mean-spirited, and stupid words.

Because I had spoken wrongly to one particular brother in our congregation, the next time I saw him, I asked him to forgive me for my stupidity and anger. I had sinned, I was guilty, and there was nothing more to say. To make excuses or minimize what I had done would only have added to my guilt.

Amazingly, he just smiled at me, not holding the slightest offense, forgiving me from the heart. The smile on his face said it all.

So Deeply Loved

Immediately, I realized two things.

First, this brother, who was in his early thirties (I was 16), had received God’s mercy in his own life. He was happy to show that same mercy to me.

Second, it felt good to get low. It was the place to receive grace — and there is nothing more wonderful than His grace! As the Word says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace [or, shows favor] to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

There’s also an amazing exhortation in Proverbs that says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11–12).

What a revelation!

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Back in 1992, when I was 37 years old and had been preaching in major church settings, a respected man of God spoke a word of correction to me, telling me he was passing on a lesson he had learned from the Lord in his own life.

We were speaking by phone, and my wife, Nancy, was eager to hear what he had said to me. But no sooner did I begin to tell her than I started crying.

She asked, “Why are you crying?”

I replied, “Because the Lord loves me enough to correct me!”

At that moment, I received a fresh revelation of the Father’s love, and I got low and received this leader’s input deeply.

The Best Place to Be

I encourage you, then, to humble yourself in God’s sight. To embrace His correction, however and through whomever it comes.

Get low in His sight and say, “God, whatever You want to do in me, whatever You want to change in me, whatever You want to adjust in me — show me, and give me the grace to repent and make things right in your sight and in the sight of people.”

You’ll find abundant, amazing, glorious, refreshing, invigorating, and empowering grace in that place. And there, at His feet, leaning on Him, casting all your concerns and cares and fears before Him, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, you will find security and rest.

God gives grace to the humble!

 

Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Can You be Gay and Christian?; Our Hands Are Stained With Blood; and Seize the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival. You can connect with him on Facebook, X, or YouTube.

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