Sunday, July 10, 2011
HUMBLING OURSELVES ALLOWS GROWTH IN CHRIST.
“Your attitude should be the same as that
of Christ Jesus, Who…humbled Himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”
This humility issue is something big in Scripture. Therefore, we surmise, it must be extremely important to our growth in Christ. In fact, it is of such importance that we cannot move forward with Jesus on the narrow road without it.
Our pride and need for significance is such an impediment to our travel that we literally stop ourselves, unable to go on with Jesus because of it.
I know from personal experience, as many of you do, that having self on the throne means Christ is not there. We may talk of Him, and read about Him, and quote from Him, and even preach sermons in His Name. We may study of Him, and share about Him with others, and do many things for Him, but if we do not have the same attitude as Christ, which is to dethrone self, we are wasting our time.
Christ is not with the proud and vain. He is not with the arrogant and boastful. He waits for us to hear the Spirit’s voice within, and to drop our pretenses and our selfish ambitions, and to turn to Him in humility. He waits for us to acknowledge our ugly self-focus. He then is ready to show us Himself.
Unfortunately for us, this often comes through tragedies, difficulties, or intense periods of affliction, where we have nothing left to give, and we are faced with the utter uselessness of our own effort and the utter poverty of our own character. To have to be brought to this point is human nature. Only then will many of us know humility.
Our Lord Jesus was tried in the same way. He came forth as gold, not because He was perfect already, but because…
“Although He was a son,
he learned obedience from what He suffered and,
once made perfect, He became the source of
eternal salvation for all who obey Him…”
Are we better than our Lord Jesus? Can we now, unlike Him, take our own way and not learn obedience through suffering? Can we now, unlike Him, hold onto our pride and our self-focus, trying through vain and selfish ambition to earn our place in His Kingdom?
Brothers and sisters, we must give it up. We must lay our lives down for Christ Jesus and one another, considering ourselves the least among the brethren. This is the attitude our Lord Jesus has, and the attitude that we must learn.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others
better than yourselves.”
Notice, this does not say, “equal to yourselves.” This is one very important difference between the world and the Kingdom. In Christ’s Holy Nation, each of us is to take on the attitude of Christ completely. This means taking others’ interests upon ourselves, and making them our own. This means considering that their considerations are more important than our considerations! Not equality, but a setting aside of our own interests as secondary, and looking to the interests of others as primary.
“Each of you should look
not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.”
Does God not care about our interests? Yes, you are more important than many sparrows, and He knows every hair on your head. But it is the attitude of Christ Jesus He wants to work in us, which is making others more important than ourselves, which results in us laying down our lives for those around us in the Name of Christ. This results in much glory to our Savior, and gives God joy in His children’s behavior.
For those raising children, let me ask a question. How does it make you feel when one of your children, on their own, does something kind and unselfish for another person? Yes, there is that warm glow, that quick filling of the eyes with tears, that lump in the throat. We are so proud of them, and our love for them grows.
Why would our Father be any different? He has put that in our hearts, and we must remember it daily. Humility is God’s character, shown us in Christ, and must be our daily focus if we are to be like Him.
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