A strong stiff-arm. If you are a football fan like myself, and will no doubt find yourself watching football this afternoon with a full belly of turkey, you are pretty familiar with that term. For our non-football fan friends, a stiff-arm is when someone running with the football sticks their arm out straight and uses that arm/hand to push off the want-to-be tackler by keeping him at arm’s length. Obviously for this tactic to work effectively, the runner must have sufficient strength to be able to push the opposing player off.
The idea of a stiff-arm comes to mind when we read James 4:6, which reads, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Did you catch what God does to the proud person? He resists him, i.e stiff-arms him. I think that example gives the perfect picture of what God does to a proud person. He symbolically puts his arm out and keeps that person at bay. That proud person may think they are doing well spiritually but any desire or prayer they have for grace and help from the Lord will be rejected. And while it’s one thing to be stiff-armed by an opposing player, it’s quite another to be stiff-armed by the Lord himself!
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, and we think back to the early Pilgrims/Puritans that helped to found our great country, I think it’s safe to say that these believers were marked by their humility and utter dependence upon the Lord. Along those lines, a Puritan by the name of Henry Smith is quoted as saying that “the King has declared pride and all of her friends to be His enemy, but those who clothe themselves in humility may boldly draw near to Him.” What a good reminder for us to remember on a day like this. All that I have in this life is only mine as the result of the grace and mercy of the Lord. Whether it be financial blessings, health, good friends and family- those blessings ultimately are not the result of anything we have done but instead are the the blessings of God’s goodness in our lives. May we be clothed with humility on this day of Thanksgiving!