But still, God “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble”. Like it or not, it says what it says, and means what it says. You can’t get away from that. James goes even further. He says:But meritorious means "deserving of honor or esteem" (Merriam-Webster's) and we do not deserve honor for believing or for being humble. Salvation is never deserved, nor are any of the other good gifts of God. To be humble before God means exactly that, to concede that we are sinful and undeserving, whereas He is gracious and good.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
He describes a meritorious act. And he tells you exactly how to do it to get the desired result. It describes something that is considered meritorious in the sight of God, and consequently moves him to act in a certain way. You can’t get away from that.