Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shades of humility

"The Lord's Blessing"
by Kathy Lawrence

"The Lord's Blessing" by Kathy Lawrence
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Philippians 2:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself...Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..."  (2:3-5)

Humility. I think we'd all agree it's a quality that's attractive in other people, yet easy to transgress in ourselves. A close look at our reading today along with a few other Bible bits will help us discover shades of biblical humility and give us ideas on how we can nurture it in ourselves.

  • Other-centered
Paul alludes to one of the big reasons it's hard to be humble in Philippians 2:4 — because each one of us is at the centre of our own universe (as Adrian Plass says it: "Everyone is I"). We take a big step down the road to humility when we "look out not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others."

  • Childlike
In Matthew 18:4 Jesus talks about humbling oneself as a child. A childlike attitude toward God is rooted in the reality of His power and bigness, and our dependence on Him.

  • Live for the praise of the One who matters
If we have trouble being humble, James 4:10 tells us to put ourselves before God — the One whose opinion really counts. From this place we say, I don't know best, but You do. I'll take whatever lot in life or assignment You give. I'll let You decide.

  • Defer to the deserving
Peter in 1 Peter 5:5 gives common sense advice when he says tells us to defer to those who deserve honour — like wise elders. But then he quickly enlarges the net: "all of you be submissive to one another and clothed with humility."

  • Free from the need to prove anything
Back at our Philippians passage, I love how a sidebar article in my Bible describes Jesus' humility (Philippians 2:5-8):

"Christlike humility is manifested in the freedom of God's Son to affirm the fullness of all God has placed in Him, without needing to flaunt, prove, or push it through self-advancement. Jesus' complete absence of any need to 'clutch' for power or attention is manifest humility. It is the royal spirit that the King of heaven Himself displayed in servantlike graciousness" - Fuchsia Pickett, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1662.

That's what I want — freedom from a need to flaunt, prove, push for self-advancement, clutch for power or attention. I want my life to display that "royal spirit" Jesus lived by His "servantlike graciousness," don't you?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to live the humility that You modelled. Show me where I need to humble myself so that I won't need Your disciplinary hand to humble me. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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