Journal Phil 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves…though (Jesus) was in the form of God, (He) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but (He) emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…(Jesus) humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross….
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” excerpts from Phil 2:3-12
Observation: If I were to title this section like Bible editors do, I would call this “Get your head on straight” instead of “Christ’s example of humility.”
Analysis: How difficult is changing a habit?
I have read that if I can do something for 30 days in a row, without fail, I am well on my way of making that “something” a habit.
Let me try that against all forms of selfish expression. All forms. For only 30 days. Guaranteed to lose. I am, at my core, a selfish creature.
I am not a fatalist. I am, however, learning that being transformed into the image of the Son, being a Disciple, walking worthy of the Gospel is something I do with a lifetime in mind—not a month, reset my reflexes, and off I go on the path of righteousness without fail.
Let me review humbleness: Being humble is not a bunch of outward actions, although it can look like it, for instance:
- Hang my head. Nope.
- Being demure. Nope.
- Being a person that can get run over a lot. Nope.
Fake humility can look like these things and more.
Real humility isn’t based on a score card; it is based on a mindset, an attitude set like flint on any specific goal. Biblical humility starts with an understanding where I stand before God without Jesus, and then what it took for God to bridge that gap. (c. Isaiah 59:11-21 for a description of that separation).
Grasping Biblical Humility as an everyday practice is tough. I think about the reference above: “(Jesus) humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…” The line before referenced, “…by taking the form of a servant…” I find it conceptually easier to embrace humility of being a servant—much more difficult (if at all) think about humility through death.
I think that is why Paul takes humility as a step process:
- Start with thinking and considering others more important than myself.
- not avoiding looking after my own interest but expanding and not neglecting to look after other’s interests as well.
I must start somewhere. Steady plodding reaps results.
Prayer: Father, how important is humility? James says without humility I will never see You. And how difficult is it to lay aside pride and embrace humility? Muy difficult, even in the best of situations.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me seems to be the right cry for my time. AMEN