For the last couple of days I have been wrestling with the massive issue of humility. I was spending some time with the Lord the other day when I came across a passage on humility that rocked my world and I really haven’t been quite the same since.
Paul make some pretty huge statements in Philippians 2:3-9 (amplified). It’s in this passage that we are taught what the true spirit of humility is.
Paul tells us that we should view ourselves as lower than others. He tells us to hold others as superior and to view ourselves as inferior. He says that is the true spirit of humility. When I read that I had all kinds of objections which I will explain later.
Paul also instructs us to not be merely concerned with our own interests but also the interests of every other person. Then Paul supports his instructions by pointing us to our model Jesus in perhaps the most dynamic passage on humility I have ever read.
Paul tells us that Jesus didn’t regard equality with God as something He wouldn’t give up. Instead, He gave up His privilege and dignity to become like us. In an amazing display of humility and love Jesus lowered Himself and became human. He was willing to become equal with us.
For me and maybe some of you that’s where I used to stop. I found that my ultimate victory was in my heart that said, “I’m not better than others I’m equal”. But there is a pretty big problem with that. It’s not where Jesus settled. Paul tells us in verse 8 that after He was born He humbled and abased Himself still further and carried that humility to extreme death. WOW!
The ultimate victory of humility doesn’t come when we consider ourselves equal with others. The ultimate victory comes when we are willings to actively place ourselves beneath others. Isn’t that what a servant does and aren’t we called to serve?
Like I said, I had some objections to this dynamic teaching and here they are:
1. If I’m always considering others superior to me then I’ll never get anything I want. To answer this God led me to verse 9 and showed me that because Jesus stooped so low God exalted Him higher than any other name. God reminded me that He is the giver of good things in our lives and He wants to give to us. We are not to rely on the world to give us the things we want. If we seek the kingdom first God will take care of us. I just have to believe God’s promises.
2. If I follow this teaching my interests will never matter. God answered this for me by reminding me that Paul doesn’t say we shouldn’t have our own interests. He just says don’t let our own interests be the only ones we consider.
3. If I follow this teaching it will lead me to compromise my beliefs because I’m around people who don’t love Jesus and have poor interests. This could certainly be true and that’s why we have to be careful. There is nothing in the Bible that condones sin so if we are letting this teaching take us into sin we are missing it. I’m free to consider others as superior and consider their interests but that doesn’t mean we have to blindly serve them with no discernment. I’m not going to give a homeless man my last $100 if my family doesn’t have food (unless God told me too in which case I would trust Him to provide). But that doesn’t mean I can’t serve that homeless man in some other way.
4. If I follow this teaching it’s going to do damage to my sense of worth, value and love. How can I consider others as better and yet not have it affect my self image? This was the biggest one for me and the answer came when I was sitting in a room full of people yesterday. The Lord spoke to me and said consider them as more important than you. So I did. Then the Lord asked me if I felt less loved, valued and worthy. The answer was no. If fact I felt the opposite. I felt more love flowing through me in that moment.
Our love, value, identity and worth is to be in God and only God. It is not designed to ride the roller coaster of mans acceptance and rejection. My value has nothing to do with how I view myself in relation to others. My value is to be detached from those influences. Therefore I can hold myself as the least important thing on this earth but it doesn’t change how much I am loved, valued and cherished by God! We are not to play our value, worth and love on the worlds scale.
If fact, the only way I can be free to follow Jesus’ example of humility is to have my identity in Him and only Him.
What do you think of this?
What do you agree with and what do you struggle with?
Do you have any other objections?
**Don’t forget to click the follow button if you like it**
Jesse and Kara Birkey