Imitating Christ's Humility

Humility is severely lacking in Christian circles today. And yet, without it, we can never truly imitate our Lord Jesus Christ.
by Lorraine E. Espenhain | Source: Catholic.net

 

"...in humility consider others better than yourselves." [Php 2:3].

Whether we want to accept this truth or not, to the extent that we are walking closely with Christ and spending much time with Him in prayer is to the extent we will walk before Him in genuine humility.

Arrogance and feelings of superiority have plagued the human race from the very beginning of man’s history, but the Scriptures clearly teach that these two things
have no place whatsoever in the household of God.

Unfortunately, education, position, titles, gifts, talents, wealth, and even religion are often used as stumbling blocks in the lives of many to cause them to feel superior to others.

Moses spent much time with God in prayer. He saw God’s form and spoke with Him face to face.   Simply put, Moses walked very closely with the Lord.  Consequently, it is written of him in the Bible as follows:
"Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth." [Nu 12:3].

The closer you are to Christ, the more you will see yourself as you really are compared to His righteousness, holiness, and power and the more you will be humbled before Him.


In the book of Esther, we read that Haman was the only one who was invited to a banquet in order to eat and drink with the king and queen.  When he learned that he alone had been invited, arrogance quickly filled his heart and his head swelled with pride.  He boasted to his family and friends. In his mind, he was superior to everyone else in the king’s kingdom and was invited to this banquet on the basis of his superiority. In the end, he was humbled, for God had him put to death.


How different was the prophet Isaiah’s reaction, when he, too, was invited to the home of the King.  When he was caught up to Heaven and saw Christ seated upon His throne, he cried out, "Woe to me! Woe to me! I am ruined!" He reacted in this manner because in the face and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, he saw himself as he really was and reacted in genuine humility.


Anytime I see an arrogant man or woman, I see someone who clearly is not walking closely with the Lord.   It doesn’t matter what position he or she may hold in the Church, or what they may have accomplished in Christ’s Name. If they are arrogant, they are not walking closely with Him and do not enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.


The more time we spend in prayer, intimately conversing with our Beloved Father, the more His Spirit will burn out of us those sinful attitudes that are not a fragrant aroma, but a stench in the nostrils of God. Human arrogance is a stench. 


When feelings of superiority creep into the heart and mind, God sees it, and we can be certain that He will target it for destruction if we do not eliminate it from our lives immediately. When God targets arrogance and pride for destruction, it is usually through a sharp, painful, and humiliating instrument. Therefore, we would be wise to shoot those feelings down the minute they enter the mind. If we don’t deal with arrogance, He will. Of that, we can be certain.


In Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, he prayed that God would give all believers
"power to be able to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep, the love of Christ was [for each one of them]." [Eph 3:18]. 


I am convinced that because many of us have not yet grasped the depth of Christ's love for us as individuals, this ignorance is causing us to stumble in many ways, myself included.   Whenever I fall flat on my face and stumble in my obedience to Christ, it is because I have lost sight of His love for me as an individual and have allowed my sinful flesh to take over.


I do not write as I do because I have achieved perfection in this area and now consider myself God's choice instrument to teach the rest of the masses.  No, I write as I do because, I too, stumble most miserably in this area, and in this holy season of Lent,  like you, I"m trying desperately to repent of my own weaknesses and shortcomings.  


If I truly understood the Lord's love for me as I ought, I would not fail Him as much as I do.  I would be confident in His love for me and would not listen to the sinful demands of my flesh and  strike back when others hurt me or wrong me.  If you have failed God 1,000 times in this regard, I have failed Him 10,000 more. 


When we truly understand the depth of Christ’s love for us personally, we will have no need to rely upon the feeble crutches of education, position, titles, wealth, accomplishments, etc., in order to feel valuable, confident, and secure.


Truth be told, arrogance is a telltale sign of a lack of genuine confidence and a low self-esteem. Anytime I encounter an arrogant Christian, whether he or she is a leader or ‘layperson,’ I see an individual who does not yet know the love of Christ for them.


Instead of being fully clothed in the knowledge of Christ’s love for them, they clothe themselves in the flimsy cobwebs of human achievement, position, titles, wealth, and education so as not to feel naked and exposed. They do not realize, however, that their nakedness is exposed to all who have a discerning spirit and are able to see right through their arrogance.


When we truly understand the love that Jesus has for us personally, we will not feel the need to toot our own horn, put ourselves forward,  jockey for position, or always make our point.  We will be able to move forward when others attack us without stumbling or wasting our time trying to defend or justify ourselves.  Because our confidence comes from the love that Christ has for us, and not from any other source, we will not feel the need to have the final say, and we will be able to yield to the opinions, plans, ideas, and decisions of others, even if their knowledge or talent in a certain area is not as extensive as ours.


Where is it written in Scripture that those with the most knowledge, experience, education, or talent get to do everything while everyone else must take a backseat? Are you the only one with knowledge? Are you the only one with ability? Does God speak only through you? Has His Spirit bypassed all others in order to dwell in you?


Many years ago, when I was living in Corpus Christi, Texas, I attended a church that decided to publish a monthly newspaper. People were encouraged to submit whatever contributions they desired to make in the way of articles, poems, recipes, etc.


Each time the newspaper came out, I noticed that 95% of the articles were written by the editor.   Because he insisted on gobbling up all of the newspaper space, any other writings that did get through were pushed to the back.   A seven-page newspaper was published with the first five pages going to the editor and his thoughts.

To me, this was a clear, telltale sign of human arrogance on the part of the editor, who obviously believed that he was the only one who had worthy things to say.  The newspaper was about the editor and his thoughts, not about the glory of Christ.


I eventually stopped contributing to the paper because I wanted to be a part of a ministry where the exaltation of Christ was the ultimate goal, not the exaltation of a man.


How I hate it when people insist on being called by titles. When Christ walked the earth, people called Him by His first name. The same can be said of Peter, Paul, James, John, Thomas, and all of the other church leaders and apostles. Why, then, do many of us today insist on being called by a title? Are we higher than Christ? Are we superior to Him?   Saint Paul wrote that in humility we should consider others better than ourselves, but many individuals insist on being called by a title in order to
set themselves apart from and above everyone else. 


My brother or sister, if you are a doctor or a corporate CEO, how do you feel if someone calls you by your first name? Do you become offended? If so, you suffer from arrogance, and you need to repent of it before it destroys your life completely. If you can’t allow yourself to be stripped of your earthly title, are you capable of being stripped of anything else in your life that God desires to eliminate?


We are instructed to consider others better than ourselves, not to consider ourselves better than others. When we hide behind titles, achievements, education, wealth, ministry, and positions in both the church and society, we expose our nakedness and insecurity all the more, and we dishonor the Word of God which commands us to act otherwise.

Titles, my friends, have absolutely nothing to do with respect or honor. It is God’s Word which we are called to honor, and it is God alone who should be exalted.


As long as we insist on relying upon everything else to give us confidence and security, rather than the love of  our Lord Jesus Christ, we will never be able to imitate Him in His humility.  If we cannot imitate Christ in His humility...


...we will not be able to imitate Him in any other area of our lives as well.



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