"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Humble Like Jesus

When you read short bios of now famous people, frequently you stumble upon the idea that the celebrity came from humble beginnings. In other words, the beginnings of their lives were not that impressive; no one would think twice about them. Nothing about their environment or heritage caught anyone's attention. Humble is like that...it does not say, "Hey, look at me!"

In Paul's letter to the Philippian church, he calls them to have the same attitude as Jesus, being grounded in his comforting love, tender compassion, and unified in spirit. Doing nothing out of vain conceit, they are, in humility, to consider others better than themselves. They are to look not only to their own interests, but also to the interest of others. (2:1-5)

The attitude of Christ is then described: being God, he did not cling to his status but "made himself nothing," that is, he emptied himself, taking the very nature of a servant in the form of a human:

And being found in appearance as a human, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! (2:8)

The truth is, the life of Jesus sometimes flies in the face of what we consider a humble man. There, I said it. No disrespect intended, of course. The fact is, Jesus made some pretty astounding statements: No one comes to the Father except through me; I will return to judge the world; I am (God). He repeatedly put the religious authorities in their place, and spoke with an authority that would today be considered dogmatism. He knew who he was (is). Yet his humility is seen in his submission to God the Father, to fulfill his will (for our sakes), living a perfect life and sacrificing that life for us on the cross.

If we follow his example, if we have his attitude, we will find our identity in him. Far from putting ourselves down (as some understand humility), we will find and fulfill our unique role in the Kingdom, not to gain praise or approval of people, but as servants. Remembering that we are human (not gods), we will humble ourselves and become obedient to God. In losing our lives, we find them. And with our lives in him, we encounter the joy that comes from an eternal perspective--our small sacrifices are a blip on the radar screen of eternity.