Why do I admire them so much? What was it about them I appreciated so much that made them stand out from all the rest of the people I know?
Then I began thinking of who in life has had the greatest influence on me. People that I have wanted to emulate, be like, copy--even become. Why did I want to become them? Had I?
Humility. Of the traits I found myself both admiring and desiring to imitate in my own life, what stood out to me was that many of the people I loved so much are humble. What does that even mean?
"God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us." -Martin Luther
Luke 22:26 says "The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."
This verse might as well have never left the original language it was written in. It has for the last twenty-two years of my life had absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever. I'm sure every time I've ever read or heard that verse spoken it has had little or no weight on my heart. Now I look at it and wonder, how do you live like that?
How can I, a naturally selfish person who out of impulse looks for the shortest line, changes lanes frequently and ends prayers quickly because I'm hungry even BEGIN to understand what this means?
Luke 5:8 Peter cries out "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man" which is how I've lived my entire life.
It is the fullness of the Spirit that makes me take in Christ and live as if He is in my life. Not anything I do.
Andrew Murray writes, "...the reality is that external teaching and personal effort are powerless to conquer pride or create the meek and lowly heart in a person."
Jesus came as a man not to be served, but to serve. That is key. The connection I am beginning to realize is that it is not through my own empowerment I am redeemed, but through riding the wake of Christ that I begin to realize what humility truly means.
I have been given a tremendous gift of grace, a learning curve in life that allows me to pursue relentlessly becoming exactly it is that Jesus has for me to be. Unlike drag racing, I do not have a straight line I need to adhere to, but instead the freedom of the law to live in. I can chase after becoming a godly man and discovering what it is God has for me without worry that I'm going to mess things up or fall short.
It isn't about the end goal, it's about the journey. It's about following Him moment by moment.
James 4:6 says "God opposes the proud." This directly affects and deals with me, as I am by nature of my humanity, prideful. But this is not a stand alone statement. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." And it is there I must live.
I suck at the daily tasks of submission. Serving, praying, thinking about holy things, these things don't come naturally to me. But God delights in me, His child, somehow anyway. I am promised this, told this, shown this, and time and time again reminded that it isn't about me. It isn't about me.
It isn't about me.
It's to the glory of God.
Donald English says in his book The Message of Mark, "At the source of all Christian service in the world is the crucified and risen Lord who died to liberate us into such service." Our service then, my service, is not what brings about humility. It is the act following the submission of my heart to His, recognizing that I am not deserving of any pride. None.
I cannot serve my way out of this prideful hole my life so often exists in.
Instead, I need to recognize my position as recipient to a huge kingdom, my place being to serve that kingdom and in as many ways as possible, effectively communicate the love and sacrifice that Jesus is to our hurting world.
What I have admired most in the people I respect are their humility, how effectively they communicate, how often they choose to serve, and their love they have for others.
These things come from a perfect Savior who promises the same to me. I can become what I see and long for.
It starts with the decision to realize with humility that I have been given much; many opportunities to serve, many chances to love, and more than both combined to live the way Jesus has asked me to.