“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So many times throughout God’s Word, we see this picture of humility being displayed in different people’s lives and the impact that humility brings not only to their own life but the HUGE Kingdom impact that was brought through their humble service for a God much bigger than themselves. On the other hand, we also see this picture of pride and selfishness being played out amongst these same men and women of faith from Old Testament to new. We see it first in Adam and Eve, being told specifically by God not to eat from the tree in the Garden. They were tempted by the serpent, Satan, “oh just try it out, no big deal, you deserve this apple.” Satan tempted them with lies and in their pride, elevating themselves above this holy and perfect God who created them, God gave them clear instructions on what not to do for their good but when they raised their position to equal or greater than God and listened to the lies instead of God’s truth, they fell. They fell and in their own pride resisted God causing a chain effect of sin and resisting God rooted in each person who’s walked this earth after them. Pride is at the root of every fall we see from man throughout the Bible. It’s pride that tells us lies about who we are in comparison with God and others and it’s pride that causes us to stumble into a life of no impact except fulfilling the selfish pleasures “I” desire.
So many times we hear Jesus talk about humility, serving with humility and giving us the biggest lesson of humble service by laying His life down on the cross. I mean wouldn’t you say that if humility wasn’t such a big deal then Jesus, being fully God and man, God in the flesh, at anytime He could have used His divine privileges in this world to reign supreme in power as King of this world, having anything He ever wanted. But instead this picture of humility was played out in every part of His life giving us the example as which to base our lives on.
Jesus’ example began at birth, instead of coming into this world in the biggest and coolest of ways. Think about it, if you’re God coming into the world wouldn’t you want to let everybody know you’re here. Riding in on clouds, a parade of angels following you in, using the stars as huge spotlights like an introduction into a basketball game. A band of angels playing some of Davids classic hits from Psalms, I mean seriously think of all the ways He could have came into this earth. It’s God, you’d think it’d be pretty hype but instead Jesus’ example began as that of a humble servant, being born in a barn literally surrounded by farm animals and all the great smells I’m sure came with them, no spotlight, no big parade to elevate Him above the world. He became a man, in a body of flesh, undergoing the same fleshly struggles and temptations that me and you endure so instead of Jesus showing us His Godliness He became like one of us, lowering His authority to the lowest level and took the form of a humble slave. Jesus knew what would be played out in the days to come but He remained humble under God’s plan and was obedient to see it through. He endured the death of a criminal, Jesus Christ charged as a criminal, hung on a cross beside criminals, dying a death that criminals deserved. But the thing is, His life was perfect in every way. Despite enduring temptation in every form from the serpent, Satan, He endured it and walked perfectly. He was obedient to God by putting Himself under God’s authority and even though He didn’t deserve the death He got, His humility spoke loudly once again, God in the flesh, laying His life down taking the death that WE deserved so we didn’t have to. He could’ve got out of it, He could’ve avoided it, but He endured it. He laid His life down before God and man and what happened next? The magnitude of His example and this act of service He displayed to me and you, it’s still giving life to the lifeless, giving freedom to people in bondage, the impact Jesus had on this world starting and ending with His humility has been changing the world and the lives in it ever since that first moment in the manger as a baby.
So I read this and thought oh yeah, be humble, serve others, yeah that’s what I need to do but it’s bigger than just some instructions to live a better or happier life. When looking at it in the lens of the Gospel, how humility has been the foundation of God’s plan since the beginning to fight against evil and pride. It changes everything we think we know. It’s not just something to do it’s who God made us to be. Jesus set the example on which to live from, putting ourselves aside and living as humble slaves to God, being obedient to His ultimate plan.
It’s crazy when you think about humility is mentioned so much throughout God’s Word and was mentioned so much by Jesus. In Jesus’ sermons and teachings, humility was always the first thing mentioned. When you look at His example you see humility before anything else. There’s a reason for that!! With humility as the foundation of our lives, we don’t place ourselves on the same or higher playing field than God. All that stuff mentioned at the beginning of the passage, those commands in which to live by, all are impossible to live without first coming to God in complete humility. Being obedient to God can only happen when our position is under His powerful authority. So often I see instruction like this and think I gotta do this or do that then I’ll be pleasing to God, nooo!!! Jesus died that death and took every spot of sin off our record with God so we’re already pleasing to God because of Jesus. Nothing we can do is going to change that. Our standing and identity with God is set in Jesus Christ, we are seen as righteous because of Jesus.
We don’t have to base our life and relationship with God off what we do because we’re good, Jesus has made us good with God, so what now? We give our lives to the One who gave His life for us. I’ve walked so many days of my life, even recently focused on me, my wants, my plans, me me me. It’s a life that holds back the fullness of joy and peace that God has given us. Our pride is our downfall, has been since the garden. So let’s lay entitlement, greed and pride aside, even when the world says “nah man that’s what’s it’s all about in this life.” The Serpent has just gotten louder over the years, Jesus example and truth tell us what this life is about. Humility. Our behavior, actions, decisions and the Kingdom impact that God works through our lives into others is all stemmed from humility. How we humble ourselves before God says everything about how we treat our fellow man, how we lay our lives aside, even below others and serve them, it all stems from our humility. To be truly great before God, be nothing. Humble is the foundation, everything God builds in our lives from then on out is off that foundation. When pride is the foundation, everything built is from our hands and it may seem nice for a minute but it doesn’t change lives, it doesn’t show people Jesus, it doesn’t give us freedom and victory over the struggles of this world. Only humility, and only Jesus can bring impact that lasts eternally. Humble is the example. Humble we go to God. What happens next through a life humbled before God? I don’t know but seeing the examples of the humble men and women of faith that came before us and wha God did through their lives when they laid their life down humbly before Him, I grantee it’ll be much better than anything we could come up with. Can’t wait to see what God is going to do through lives humbled before Him!!!! It’s going to be soooo awesome!!!!