Humbled or Exalted - by Greg Steggerda

The mystical religious concept of karma - the idea that right will always balance wrong, good will offset evil - has become popular. I don’t think most people who refer to karma realize it’s really a Hindu concept wherein the sum total of your actions in this life determine what happens to you in the next. More often people see it as something bad happening to a bad person, or a good person getting something good.

Interestingly, life in Jesus includes a principle that is a lot like karma. Jesus explained in in Luke14, summarized here in verse 11: “‘For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’”

If you promote yourself, Jesus explains, no one else will. But if you focus instead on everyone else, then others will put the limelight on you.

I think Jesus is telling us that this is true in his kingdom too. God honors and values those followers who spend themselves for other people and not themselves. Selfless people are godly people; selfish people reflect something else.

It’s another way that Jesus’ teachings are completely counter-cultural. Not only are Christians not braggarts or self-promoters, they don’t even really care about putting themselves in front of anyone. A true Jesus-follower knows that the only real way to serve God in this life is to serve people, his image-bearers. That’s what God’s people care about.

As with many Biblical truths, it’s simple to understand and difficult to do.