Have you humbled yourself before the Lord?
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:11-32, NIV)
Humbling ourselves before the Lord, before anyone, is difficult. We do not like to think of ourselves as wrong, or that we are unable to do something ourselves. Pride often has been and is the downfall of a person. Pride often has been and is a reason for people failing to succeed. Both of the sons fall victim to pride.
The younger son believed that he was in charge of his own life – he could handle whatever came his way and he should be free to live as he saw fit. His attitude was reflective of the Israelites during the days of kings; it ultimately led to their downfall, just as it led to the downfall of younger son.
The older son took pride in following the rules – he did the work he was supposed to do in order to receive his reward (inheritance). When his brother returned, the older son felt as if his work was taken for granted and overlooked, while the younger son received a feast. The older son had no love in his heart.
Being humble before the Lord regards the condition of one’s heart. Neither brother had their hearts right with their father, and are reflective of hearts of many in the world today. Those who do not follow the Lord, and even some who do, hold the attitude that they are in control of their lives, and that they can handle whatever come their way without the help of the Lord.
We see another side of pride from the older brother. The older brother does not celebrate the return of his brother, claiming he has not earned a celebration for behaving foolishly. All behave foolish before coming to the Lord. All continue to have moments, perhaps long moment, of foolish behavior after coming to know the Lord.
Humility before the Lord comes from the conditions of hearts. To be humble before the Lord requires admitting your sins, and submitting to the authority of the Lord, our Father. What was the condition of the brothers’ hearts? What is condition of your heart?