The Verse of the Day for January 26, 2016 reveals that “The way up is the way down” or more precisely that “The way down is the way up.”:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
This scripture reminds us that humility is the key to promotion. Of course, the ultimate example to illustrate such a paradox is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:5-9 in the Amplified Bible offer this reminder:
5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]
6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and [rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!
9 Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,
Jesus Christ points to the duality of humility and promotion when he says in Luke 14:11:
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
Jesus Christ associates being humble with a child in Matthew 18:4 (Amplified Bible)
Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The same point is made in a different way in Matthew 23:13 (Amplified Bible)
Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.
The essence of this discussion of the paradox of humility and promotion is so clearly expressed in the title prayer from a collection edited by Arthur Bennett: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.
The Valley of Vision
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.
James 4:6 and James 4:10 are set to music with this reminder that we should “Humble Yourselves.”
Without question, in terms of promotion with God, humility is the key. Indeed, the way down is the way up.