Friday, November 22, 2013

Humility is Not Humiliation

"In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." - Philippians 2:4

Humility by definition means "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness." Other words for humility are modesty, humbleness, meekness. Wikipedia states that humility is defined as, "a quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to... recognize and live up to your talents and gifts in the service to others, being humble in what you do without expecting praise and adulation from others."

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

Being talented and gifted in servitude - not as a slave but a person with a servant's heart desiring only to serve others in whatever capacity you are capable of - is the putting of other's first and setting your own desires aside for the sake of someone else. Matthew 20:26-28 tells us, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many." Humility is a lowliness of mind, submission which can only occur when the soul is triumphant over the flesh. When our own desires and interests are put aside for the good of another person as evidenced by Christ when He put His own earthly desires aside in order to sacrifice His own body completely for mankind. That is humility and love shown at it's highest and fullest extent.

John 10:17-18 tells us, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father."
Humility is a submission completely done on one's own accord, willfully and deliberate service to God. Our flesh wants only to be in control, win all arguments, putting itself first. Daily practice and exercise in putting our flesh behind us, taking on a servant's attitude and heart is a real struggle. It is only when we overcome our own flesh can we triumph. It is a classic "tale" of good vs evil. Good will win out because we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ on our side. This is the Son of God himself, the ultimate child of God sent by God to earth in human form only to overcome the very grave itself.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16
This verse does not mean that we will be immortal on earth, but that we will live eternally in Heaven, with Christ. Our earthly bodies will indeed pass away, becoming dust but our souls will not die as long as we believe in Jesus as the Messiah, who came to earth where he was crucified, died and three days later rose again in the land of the living. We confess that we are sinners, ask God for His forgiveness and believe in Him. After He was resurrected, Jesus then walked the earth for 40 days to show the people that He was alive again. His body still held the scars of His sacrifice. After this 40 days were over, Jesus ascended to Heaven with the promise to return, and that He was preparing a place for those who believe in Him, where we will live for eternity with God. The Son of Man, of God, is still serving the people by preparing that special place for us!

Jesus' ultimate sacrifice - His life and body - were given so that we, even in our sinful natures, may live in eternal life. Jesus was beaten, His body broken and bleeding, was given for our sake simply because we are so loved by God, our Creator. Jesus was not a man filled with pride. He was a man who was humble, had the ultimate servant's heart, a perfect being. He walked with the sinful, ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He showed us again and again, demonstrating in every situation of how we are to live our lives. "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15. While Christ could have easily called down the angels to save Him from being sacrificed, but He was following God's will, not His own earthly desires. There is no one who wants to give their body over to be beaten, broken and eventually have their very lives taken from them voluntarily. Only the Son of God, following God's will would sacrifice Himself, taking on our own sins - those which have been commited as well as those not yet commited, future sins - because of His love for us.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

We aren't expected to be perfect as Jesus was. Overcoming our flesh is a thing that we strive to achieve. It is a constant fight to overcome our sinful nature. Even in our darkest hours, we have hope. We have hope in Christ because He has overcome the entire world. Death could not hold His body down. Within three days time, Jesus walked among the living again. No, he was not like the "living dead" of our movies and television shows. He did not stumble and stagger around in that body's search for human flesh so that it could feast upon it. Jesus was fully and completely alive again, His body made whole. This Son of God is with us, giving us the strength and courage to overcome these fleshly struggles. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you." Deuteronomy 31:6 We are not alone in our struggles. God is with us, giving us strength, courage and the ability to overcome.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, my Saviour, and my hope is in your all day long. - Psalm 25:4-5
Another great example of humility is the Proverbs 31 woman, aka "the Perfect Woman." Many people believe that this woman is unattainable. If you read about this woman in Proverbs 31:10-31, you can see overall, that we can strive to be like her. It is not an impossible feat. Remember, we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Philippians 4:13.

I don't know about you, but when I take the time to really read and absorb what these verses are describing, I am pretty sure that this is a woman that we can become, with God's help. The Proverbs woman loves the Lord wholeheartedly, loves and cares for her family, is wise in all she does, honors her husband, bringing him respect and trust, in turn respecting and honoring her, she takes care of her home personally, helps others, etc. Most importantly, this is a woman who loves and fears the Lord, living a life of humility, quiet strength, mercy and wisdom.

Dear God, thank you for your love. Thank you for all the blessing that you have bestowed on us. I pray, Abba, that you will create in us a servant's humble heart. Give us the strength, courage and ability to overcome this earthly flesh and desire to be more like you, Lord. I pray that we will be peacemakers in our families, the ability to keep and maintain that peace no matter what the day will bring us. I pray that we will be men and women of God, demonstrating a life of Godliness and humility. I pray that the doors to our homes, our hearts and minds be opened to those in need. I pray, Abba, that we bring respect, honor and blessing to our families and friends. Let us be the light in the midst of another's darkest hours. I pray that we bring you honor, Lord, in all that we do. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.

Have a blessed day, my friends. I wish you humility, love, honor and respect.

"Serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " - Galations 5:13-14

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