Christ's Example of Humility
As we approach Easter, I have thought more and more about all of the things that we learn from the death and resurrection of Christ. One thing stood out to me today as I was considering the work that Jesus did - His humility.
Apostle Paul talked about this in Philippians 2:5 - 8:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Wow! We all have rights. We want even more rights. Yet, Jesus voluntarily put Himself on earth as a human being for the purpose of experiencing death. He “emptied Himself” rather than taking hold of His own identity as the sovereign ruler and creator of the universe. The greatness of Jesus is amazing. The majesty of Jesus is amazing. The humility of Jesus is amazing.
An Example of Humility
Jesus’s example of humility is something from which we can all learn. In fact, Paul tells us this when he tells us to let this attitude be in us. Oh how often I fail at this! Jesus actually emptied Himself of His own rights in order to serve others.
Jesus had every reason to be prideful. In fact, He is the only human to ever walk the planet that had a right to be prideful. If only I could get this in my spirit at all times.
Evidence of Pride
What are the signs of pride in my own life? I came up with a few signs I believe are important. They are certainly not the only signs…
When I am afraid, it is often because I have become too self-reliant and have too little faith in God. This happened to Peter when he was on the water (Matthew 14:31). Self-reliance will always result in fear as we are not wholly capable to navigate life and all its trials on our own.
Self-sacrifice is difficult when we believe we are entitled to just about anything. Entitlement takes a lot of forms. It’s easy to see when we feel entitled to a position or a certain rate of pay or other tangible things. How about when we feel entitled to be in control? How about when we feel entitled to have things our way? Entitlement is the opposite of self-sacrifice and it was rebuked by Jesus (Luke 22:26).
This was the result of the pride that entered into Adam and Eve in the beginning (Genesis 3). Rebellion results in sin. Rebellion also causes a lack of cooperation.
Some people say “no” to requests (or just don't do it) simply because they don't want to cooperate with the person who asked them. This is a combination of entitlement and rebellion. It is a positively caustic and toxic pattern that will ultimately erode relationship after relationship.
Not accepting responsibility for our mistakes and failures. Making excuses, blaming others, or minimizing our mistakes and wrongdoings is nothing more than pride. Adam and Eve both tried this (Genesis 3). Eve blamed the snake and Adam blamed Eve. When we fail to say, “I’m sorry,” it is due to pride. Humility accepts responsibility.
By the way, no one admits to making excuses, blaming others, and minimizing. Everyone says they accept responsibility and don't make excuses. Take an honest look at the past month. Be honest! What excuses did you use or who else did you blame?
Related to rebellion, pride will always cause distance in our relationships with others. We fail to trust others because we see them as more depraved than we are. “I’m a good person, but most other people aren’t.” Now, we don't say that out loud, but it’s still the general attitude we have sometimes. When we believe others will harm or take advantage of us as soon as they get the chance, we are placing ourselves in a higher moral position. It is possible that we behave in a morally superior way than another person. However, assuming that others have negative motives when we don't assume the same for ourselves may very well be evidence of pride.
Jesus said that we must extend forgiveness in order to receive forgiveness from God (Matthew 6:15). I’m convinced that unforgiveness persists when I put myself in an elite position compared to others. In other words, I see you as being in need of grace and I fail to give it. In doing so, I fail to see my own need of grace from God.
Lord, I thank You for Your example of humility. It is amazing that You would leave Your rightful position and humble Yourself to the point of death. I am thankful that You did so because You focused on my need more than Your position. Lord, I know I have shown evidence of pride in my own life. I have shown these 6 signs and many more. I repent of pridefulness as this is certainly not the attitude You set as an example for me. I pray that you will help me to understand more of Your example of humility. Help me rid myself of pride and help me to be self-sacrificing. I pray that You would make me more aware of my own tendencies to be prideful. I also pray that You will help me recognize ways to serve others without regard to my own rights or desires. I thank You for grace and I pray that You will help me to always extend grace because I stand in need of Yours. Thank You for Your work in my life. In Jesus’s name, Amen.