What is the secret of growth in the Christian life? We might think it is deciding to be holy, or deciding to be active in ministry of one kind or another. We might consider that it is found in attending many Church services, or in learning hymns and prayers. All of these, and many more practices and disciplines of the Christian life are necessary aspects of what it means to be a Christian.
But having become a Christian, this verse provides the secret to growth in the life in Christ.
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6
Why is this so important? It is because without grace there can be no growth in the Christian life. Grace is the divine life of the Holy Trinity manifested in our lives and hearts by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Without grace there is no Christian life, and we may only receive this grace as a gift. We cannot demand it. We do not deserve it.
God gives this grace to those who are humble. This is the secret. The humble Christian is the one cheerfully who puts themselves last and does not expect to be the centre of attention. The humble Christian is the one who knows that they are entirely dependent on God for every moment of their life. The humble Christian is the one who continually prayers with love and hope – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. The humble Christian is the one whose life is given over to the service of others.
Who is the one that God resists? It is the one who can never receive grace because he demands it of God. It is the one who is proud and full of themselves. It is the one who has the appearance of being a Christian but who is concerned entirely with self. The one who is proud may be popular and well thought of. The one who is proud might seem to achieve much. But without grace such a one is devoid of that divine life by the Holy Spirit which is what it means to be a Christian.
To grow in the experience of the Christian life must mean nothing other than to continue to grow in the experience of humility. As it is written, it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. If the Christian life is all about me then I am not humble. If it is all about God and about others then perhaps we are beginning to become humble. And if we are humble then God will give grace.