James 4:6 (NKJV) 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

As I was doing some various things today, the Holy Spirit dropped a short phrase into my spirit; He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

I quickly texted it to myself so I wouldn’t forget it.

I knew it was a piece of scripture, but I wanted to dig into it a bit and learn more about what it really means.

So, as I sat down to begin researching, I found that there are actually a few references to this principle throughout scripture.

The verse above states that “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble”.

Note the quotation marks, indicating that it came from another scripture.

Then, that same phrase is quoted again in 1 Peter 5:5.

Digging further showed that it came from Proverbs 3:34. The wording in Proverbs was slightly different, but with the same intent.

Proverbs 3:34 (NKJV) 34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.

The original text here uses stronger language, by replacing “proud” with “scornful”. It also states that God “scorns” these types of people, instead of saying that He “opposes” them.

So, what does that mean?

First, as you would assume, the targets of this are prideful people; arrogant people who look down at others or hold themselves in higher esteem than they should.

James uses it when referring to worldly behavior in believers, warning that anyone who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God.

Peter uses it while promoting submissiveness to elders and to each other (within the body of Christ), while also encouraging believers to be “clothed with humility”.

Lastly, let’s look at the original, in Proverbs.

Interestingly, the writer says that God “scorns the scornful”.

This literally means that God looks at the scornful (wicked, oppressor) in the same way that they look at others; with disdain and contempt (worthless, despicable, beneath consideration, unworthy of respect).

Those are pretty powerful words by anyone’s standards.

But what do we see when it comes to the humble?

God gives them grace, treating them with honor, dignity and distinction, showing them His love and kindness.

This makes it plain that humility is pleasing to God, while pride is not.

Let’s ask God to show us if we are prideful anywhere in our lives. And then let’s allow Him to root it out of us, making us humble in every way, so our lives are pleasing to Him.