For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
A popular brand of automobile oil filters became famous for its marketing slogan, “You can pay me now or pay me later.” That is, you can pay a small amount now for an oil change or a large amount later to repair or rebuild the engine whose oil was not changed. Either way, you’re going to have to pay to own and operate your car.
The Bible takes a similar view on the subject of humility: You can humble yourself now or have God humble you later. Either way, if you want to follow Christ, you will be humble. Jesus told His disciples that truth during His last supper with them. He took on the role of a servant by washing their feet—a shocking thing for Him to have done. And when He was finished, He said they should do the same for each other—play the role of servant: “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Followers of Christ must be reconciled to the truth that we are called to be humble servants of one another.
Ask God today to give you a servant’s humble heart. Look for an opportunity today to humble yourself and serve another person. Better to humble ourselves now than to be humbled by God later.
The surest mark of true conversion is humility.
J. C. Ryle