Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Obediently Humbled

Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5-8

"Obediently humbled." What does that say? It suggests that humility wasn't easy for Jesus, and we know it's not easy for us.

To be obediently humbled alludes to a battle of the wills, a choice. A deliberate choice to obey God. Christ's example is the ultimate humility. It was humility to the point of death--death on a cross, the ultimate embarrassment and shame (Php. 2:8). When I think of this I remember there is nothing too lowly for me to do.

I thought of this verse often in my first two years of teaching preschool, because one of my after-school duties was cleaning. Cleaning everything--even the bathrooms. And do you know how bad preschool bathroom's smell? You don't want to know. My human response was to say, "I don't need to be doing this. This is disgusting. Why don't they just hire someone to do this?" When the truth is there's nothing too lowly for me.

If the Perfect Son & God of the universe can bear the burden of humanity's sin on his shoulders and be humiliated by dying a sinner's death,* then what it too lowly for me?

Humility isn't easy. It's a lowering of yourself for the sake of another. It's saying "no" to you and "yes" to someone else. It's not easy, but it's better. Just think of the freedom humility brings. If I'm not so concerned and wrapped up in my needs, my time, and my pursuits, then living for God and serving others would be so simple. I wouldn't be holding onto anything, so others wouldn't be taking anything away. Isn't that what entitlements really are? Holding onto something we feel others are trying to take?

*This is huge in and of itself. Christ died. His ministry had proclaimed him to be the Son of God, the Messiah. He was a man of miracles. At the cross, the people thought him to be a fool and a fraud. If the "self-proclaimed" Son of God couldn't get himself down off the cross, then, was he really anything special? In their eyes, he had been humiliated--made low. But, then, they didn't know the low would be lifted high (Php. 2:9-11).

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