As believers, we know that we are to imitate Christ, which means to pattern our behaviors of life after His example.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
Humility is a tall order only made possible through the Spirit’s presence in our lives and the new nature given to those in Christ. From looking at the mind of Christ, what mind are we to possess?
He didn’t try to use His equality with God to assert His power.
He emptied Himself.
He took on the form of a servant, in the likeness of man.
As a man, He suffered and was tempted in all things, yet without sin.
He humbled Himself in obedience to the Father’s will.
He went to the cross for people who were puffed up in their own eyes.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests but take an interest in others, too.”
What exactly is humility? From these passages we can see that humility is having the correct view of God, ourselves, and others. As God’s people, it is easy to think we are better than those without Christ. It’s also easy to look at the lives of other believers, comparing our maturity levels and thinking ourselves more “spiritual”. These attitudes have no place in our lives.
Instead, we are to think of others better than ourselves. We are to be giving; not selfish. We are to be genuine, not putting on a show to impress others. And we aren’t supposed to be so wrapped in our own “world” that we ignore the people outside our circles that He would have us serve.
What a fitting lesson for this Christmas season when we claim to exalt Jesus above all else, dwelling on how He came in humility as a baby and lived as a servant until He went to the cross. He humbled Himself to the point of humiliation and death. And we are the reason.
And yet, this season, most are frantic. Many are stressed. Multitudes are hurting and lonely. This is my tendency, too. But God, being so gracious, reminds us that humility seeks to serve. It’s a reminder to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ…”
What does it look like to have His mind of humility? How do our celebrations point to this truth?
Would humility try to prove love through gift giving or as a means to impress others? Humility seeks wisdom.
Would humility covet what others receive? Humility rejoices with those who rejoice and finds joy in giving.
Would humility fuss about silly traditions that no longer give life to the participants? Humility loves and serves people more than traditions.
Would humility be so busy it can’t stop to serve? Jesus Himself gave us the answer to this. Abide and seek the better thing.
Would humility pout when it doesn’t receive that ‘perfect gift’? Humility would give thanks in all things.
Would humility grow irritable? Would it forget the truth of what Christ has done? For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. He did that out of humility and love for us.
I am thankful for Christmas and the remembrance it brings. I am thankful for the hope it promises that I desperately cling to. It reminds me that I can find joy this year even as I still grieve over loved ones gone too soon. Because of Jesus, one day, I will celebrate with them again.
I can serve others today and find peace in the chaos of worldly traditions. I can give expecting nothing in return and just enjoy life. Because life is precious. Life has shown us that in tremendous ways, hasn’t it? I believe we should give thanks for every moment of life, even if it looks different than we wanted or expected. It is a gift from God.
Humility puts it all in perspective.
Want a ‘perfect’ Christmas? Abide in Christ. Think like Christ, and be looking for ways to serve like Christ. He was born in an undecorated, unglamorous stable full of stinky animals. It was simple, and yet He came.
He exhibited humility from beginning to end, and His humility led to our salvation.
What a joy we could know if we thought this was enough.