“Do I exalt Christ?“
Let’s take a look at someone who decided to exalt themselves above the LORD, and see how it turned out for him.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
There are 5 “I will”s in the passage – all having to do with taking the place of Almighty God. His desire was to be god instead of God, and that was the same temptation that he presented to Eve in the garden – “ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5). He’s in big trouble with God! What’s the end result? Does he take the place of God and take over the universe? No, but:
Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
That is the only reason that sinners will not get saved – because they exalt themselves above the Lord Jesus Christ. They think they are better than Him, that they are sufficient within themselves to stand before God at the judgment and declare their righteousness as acceptable. But what is the end of such beliefs? Death and Hell.
If that is the case for Christ rejecting sinners, how much the more should we embrace a life of self denial that our Saviour might be exalted in our lives? You only have two options! Exalt the Lord Jesus Christ or else yourself! You can try and exalt the world, but in reality you’re exalting yourself as whatever makes “me” “feel good” is of the highest importance – still serving self.
This passage in Isaiah 14 is a prophecy for the future demise of the antichrist – the counterfeit “jesus”; satan in the flesh. Although he may become a man and sit in the seat of God in Jerusalem (II Thess 2), his end is clear. Though he exalt himself above all (Dan 11:36), his end is destruction. All sinners who follow their father the devil will go to the same place as their leader.
Remember that Satan said all of this, “in his heart” (v13). You may not say out loud, “I am, and there is none else beside me”, or “I am the greatest and best”, but you shouldn’t say it in your heart either, lest you be lifted up against your God.
What does our Lord Jesus teach us about exaltation of self?
Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
God holds everything together by His power. Jesus Christ said, “without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). When you exalt yourself you can be sure to look around and wait for God to smack you down.
Proverbs 16:18 ¶ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
When you’re abased, you are brought low. You will trip and fall because God is not going to hold you up when you won’t give Him the glory. But if you humble yourself and make yourself in the last place, the LORD will exalt you in the eyes of others, as they observe your spirituality, your humility, your devotion to the LORD. Enjoy it, but don’t let it puff you up. Remember, Jesus first, Others next, You last – J.O.Y.!
The story of the Pharisee and the publican gives us great instruction as to spirit of exaltation of self:
Luke 18:9 ¶ And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Some will trust in themselves that they are righteous, and some will trust the righteousness of Christ and begin to think they’re too holy to interact with others. Notice, “despised others“. There is a great danger when you know the Bible, have the best and most perfect standards (a good thing), and have learned how to minister (a good thing), and yet, when you look at people who do less than you do, or who don’t know as much as you do, you don’t think of them as an opportunity to minister to them and lift them up, but instead you think of them as “filthy sinners” worthy of destruction.
Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
It’s not that he shouldn’t be thankful to God for what He’s done in his life, but it’s the spirit in which this is spoken!
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Notice how he brags on himself and his accomplishments and his spirituality. No believer in Christ Jesus have any need to boast themselves of their talents, abilities, strengths or accomplishments because all of those things come from God. “¶ Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
God said that this publican was right in his heart because he got right with God, but the other was not impressive. God is not impressed with you bragging on yourself. If you’re complemented, then enjoy it; but don’t go around commending yourself! Nobody likes to be around somebody who’s proud and arrogant (Prov 8:13)!
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
God exalts the humble, and He does so in His own timing. Let the Lord exalt you, don’t exalt yourself. If you exalt Christ, then the Lord will exalt you. When you humble yourself, you put yourself in the last place, and allows the Lord Jesus Christ to be exalted in your body. When people see you, they shouldn’t see you (because we’re not much), but they should see God working in you.
The one whom God exalted was the Lord Jesus:
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
God the Father put the Lord Jesus Christ in the place where Lucifer desired to be; but Satan was proud, and Jesus Christ was humble. If the Father (God) exalted the Lord Jesus Christ, and we profess to be followers of God, then who are we going to exalt? The Lord Jesus Christ!
Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a pattern for exaltation – humility, then exaltation:
Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest example of humility and servitude; He is the pattern that all Christians should follow. A servant won’t brag on himself, but will boast of his master. He will find ways to be a blessing and minister to others.
Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Consider what the Lord of glory did for us. He lived every day as a sinless man humbly serving His Father in heaven and serving others down here on earth. Every day of His short period of 33 and a half years of life here on this earth, He did not try to make Himself of reputation, but instead He sought opportunity to serve, humbled Himself greatly, and obeyed unto the death. What’s the pattern? Humility, then exaltation. The cross first, the crown later. No cross, no crown.
Some of you may only live for 33 years. What are you going to do with those years? Our Lord Jesus Christ lived every single day of His life fulfilling righteousness. He gave His life for the whole world, and we ought to give our lives also (cf ).
What does God expect out of our lives? It’s the same that the apostle Paul desired and hoped for – that Jesus Christ would be exalted in him all his days.
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
If Jesus Christ is magnified more in my sacrificial death on His behalf, then let us perish together for the glory of God! If it please our Lord for us to live a little bit longer, then let God get glory in us by our offering up of ourselves as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1) for the glory of Christ!
As we consider the events of today and the lessons of yesterday, let us ask ourselves the question, “do I exalt Christ?” Or even better yet, “am I going to exalt Christ in my life today?” Do I talk about how great Christ is? Or how great movies, games, programs, or material goods are?
We should speak the things that He would speak, and to do the things that He would do. Believers in Christ Jesus should talk about the things He cares about and the things He says are important. We ought to do the things whether we live or die, for the exaltation of Christ.
“Will I exalt Christ in my body today?“