Who is your hero? Someone you want to emulate. A quick walk through the mall will demonstrate that we even tend to dress like the people we most admire. Let our celebrity crush or hero pick up a new habit or look, and suddenly it’s trending across the nation and world.
Though the percentage has drifted downward from 80% in 2008 to 75% in 2015, three fourths of Americans identify themselves religiously as Christians or followers of Christ. Wouldn’t it be a world-changer if we would consciously and deliberately imitate Him, the way we do other “heroes” in our lives? Can you imagine what our world would look like if three fourths of Americans chose every single day to imitate Christ and His characteristics?
As I have been journeying toward Easter, some of Christ’s characteristics that I need most profoundly in my life keep surfacing. Over the next couple of blogs, I want to think about them. HUMILITY is a largely undervalued virtue. We love it in others, but in our world of comparison, trying to succeed, pushing ahead, humility is often tossed aside in the scramble.
Jesus wore humility with ease, comfort, and joy. He was born to poor parents in a lowly stable, and He never felt ashamed of that start. He refused to be pressured into proving He was somebody, or to make a point that His origins didn’t invalidate him. He was so sure of Who He was, Whose He was, and why He was here, that He was totally comfortable in His own skin. There were no pretensions, no attempts to “make a statement.” He was humble.
Humility is defined as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” Romans 12:3 suggests that it is an accurate estimate of oneself. That was Jesus. He was neither arrogant or prideful, or insecure and timid. He knew exactly Who He was, accepted Himself, and accepted others. Because of that, He was able to yield His own preferences for the needs of others, and do what was best in the situation instead of fighting for personal prestige, position, or power.
At the very start of Holy Week, on Palm Sunday, the people were at their height of enthusiasm for Him, He could have ridden a white horse into the city as a conquering champion. Instead, Jesus showed us His humility when He entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Typically, a great leader would make sure his entrance was spectacular, “fitting his position.” Jesus entered Jerusalem with great fanfare, palms waving and making a carpet on the ground. He was treated as a king. But by His own choice, the King of kings, the Son of God, entered the great city as a lowly man, one of no great importance.
When have you willingly been humble? When have you allowed yourself to be nothing of great importance? When have you considered the needs of others as greater than your own? When have you been totally comfortable with who you are? Do you refuse to be driven by shame and feelings of inadequacy? Do you resist the sense of pride and “I deserve” that easily arises when we compare?
Jesus’ entire life was marked by humility, and His Father took responsibility for lifting Him up. He will do it for us, too, if we choose humility.
When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others. In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross. So God raised him to the highest place. God made his name greater than every other name so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus—everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and bring glory to God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11