The True Basis for Humility in the Christian Walk
The meaning of life is a pervasive question in human consciousness. Many people spend their lives seeking out the answer, while countless others spend their lives trying to ignore the question. The world has done its best to hypothesize what human existence is all about:
- Life sucks and then you die.
- The one with the most toys in the end wins.
- No fear. (the berserker method to life?)
- All you need is love.
- Keep the main thing the main thing.
We as Christians know the meaning of life, but we frequently struggle to bring ourselves into line with that meaning. Even Paul said that he hadn’t yet attained it (Philippians 3:12). When it boils down to it, it’s a question of motivation: what is your motivation? And really, any Christian would be able to tell you, at least from their heads (but perhaps not with conviction from the heart), that the real question is, “WHO is your motivation?”
This passage is a reminder of what is truly important in life: Who God Is , and What He Has Done for Us . It’s so easy for us to become caught up in the day-to-day tasks of the world. We have to go to work and care for our families and spend time with our friends. We have to make money, and then we have to spend it. This is a lot to do, and we’re busy people, right? So what’s wrong with every day things? We’re expected to occupy until Jesus comes back, aren’t we? That’s in the Bible!
But the Bible doesn’t tell us to become pre occupied until He returns.
Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” This means that we are God’s people called to spread the good news of Jesus’ salvation. If we become consumed with things of this world, and we don’t live the lives that we are called by God to live, then our lives lose their meaning and worth. So that seems pretty cut and dry. Why is it so hard to keep our identity in Christ as our focus in day-to-day life?
Many times the day-to-day element that drags us down into the muck of life is our self. The way that some of us deal with the pressures of life is to push back and to try to handle everything ourselves. We can become obsessed with “el numero uno.” We’re ready to walk over anyone who gets in our way. We become incensed when someone cuts us off in traffic. The slightest emotion sends us reeling.
The reality is that we, the people that try to control things ourselves, are in control of nothing – least of all, ourselves.
Philippians 2:1-7 says, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? [Basically, If you consider yourself a Christian.] Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.”
Humble? That word is almost meaningless in the world today. Where we do see supposed “humility,” it’s frequently false and pretentious. On television, how many times do we see some rich guy saying, “Welcome to my humble abode,” and he lives in a huge mansion or a place with really expensive things? Humility in today’s society, from the world’s viewpoint, is a farce, and is generally something we don’t like to encounter. It’s as though the world sees a humble person as someone who deserves to be walked all over because he is basically asking for it as a humble person, isn’t he? But according to God’s rules, and the rules of His Kingdom, the least is the greatest and the last is first. The hostility in society towards humility is the reason why we’re supposed to turn the other cheek. We are supposed to embody spiritual things that countermand the natural.
Because pride and a lack of self-control are pretty much part of being human, each and every one of us probably feels convicted by this message to a certain extent. But guess what? We don’t have to feel condemned by Philippians 2. In fact, we’re supposed to feel liberated by that scripture. Philippians chapter 2 continues in verses 12 and 13, “.put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. ” You have divine help to humble yourself to God’s will! The Bible says that you can do all things through Christ, and the verse in Philippians 2 says that God is there to help you. You can be humble if you hold on to God.
The Bible warns against allowing our minds and concerns to be overwhelmed by the things of the day-to-day part of life.Matthew 6:25, 33, 34 says, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?. seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
How amazing is it that God’s Word, written so long ago, understands that our day-to-day trials of 2000-whatever can pull us away from God? That’s because those trials are constants that span all of time. As such, they are some of the most difficult challenges for us to overcome in Christ. At their most basic level, the daily trials are the building blocks of the fallen world that we live in . That’s why we need to battle them all day, every day.
We need to go to God for help in letting our worries die, knowing that God is faithful. After that, we need to just trust Him, and not dwell on what could happen if things don’t go our way.
When you do run to God for help in doing what you know you should, a miraculous thing happens. You tap into a cycle of obedience, love and joy. When you come to God for help, out of love, God helps you to live as you should. When you live according to His will, you please Him. When you please Him, He pours His joy into your heart. When you feel your Father’s joy, your heart desires to please Him more , and so you go to God again, thanking Him for what He has done and seeking more help in doing His will.
Again, this cycle isn’t just a phenomenon from God in the good times. You can have more abundant joy from God by being obedient in the hard times.
This is key. God’s will for you is unceasing. He has a plan for your entire life (Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”), not just for yesterday when things were great – not just for when you were a kid. God’s plan for you (His faithfulness) is eternal (yesterday, today and forever). His love, forgiveness and guidance are always there for you, but you have to seek that every day – in the hard times in the good.
The closest thing to humility in the secular world is found in a servant, like a butler. But a true servant is someone who does exactly what they’re expected to do without question because of who they are, and because of their relationship with their “master.” Have you heard of bondservants? Bondservants are not paid employees. They work for their masters of their own accord. True humility comes from a willing heart. Without a willing heart, it’s just an act, and God sees this false motivation. False humility is worthless.
So, now we have a new definition of Humility . Humility is:
- Yes, putting others before ourselves
- Loving others more than ourselves
- Not living to make an impression on other people
- Keeping our eyes on the Kingdom of Heaven
- Not worrying about the day-to-day things in life
- Having an attitude like Christ’s attitude
- Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks – always
- Do all of this with a right heart
Given Life Ministries
February 23, 2006