Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
What is humility? Is it thinking lowly of oneself? Is it just not being too prideful? How does God define humility? Jesus is our great example of humility, which He lived out and displayed so selflessly during His earthly ministry and passion. This same exact humility is within us, as His Spirit is within us, those who are His.
If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.(Philippians 2:1-11)
This high calling of humility is for those who are beginning to enjoy the mercy of the Father, the love of Jesus, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. God’s merciful and loving invasion and conquest of us has begun in us, and we are thankful.
Even after tasting such fellowship, mercy and compassion from God, we are still far from living up to this love which is in us and covers us. We are still pulled down so greatly by the gravity of our remaining sin and selfishness. God shouldn’t need to persuade us to allow this great love, mercy, and compassion within us to be shared with others. Yet He must urge us not to become self-centered, spoiled children, thinking we can hoard this great pearl and treasure for just our own personal enjoyment and benefit. We must fight our remaining sin, fight this selfishness that is so biased in favor of ourselves. The selfishness that wants to see ourselves as being better and more worthy than others. The selfishness that is so predisposed to seeking our own best at the expense and despite the needs of others.
We must be increasingly learning to follow Jesus’s example:
5 Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:5-11)
Before He came to this earth, Jesus enjoyed a love and happiness, fellowshipping within the eternal Trinity, the intensity of which we have no ability to comprehend fully. This love and happiness was and is His rightful experience, pleasure and state of being. Compelled and constrained by His own mercy and love, Jesus emptied Himself of this rightful enjoyment and privilege. Not only Jesus, but the whole God-head humbled Himself, and brought pain and grief to Himself. Jesus gave up so much to share the mercy and love of God with us. The strongest became the weakest. The One deserving the most love received and was burdened with the most hatred. The pain and loneliness of separation from His Father were all the more acute because of the closeness He had known before. He knew the extent of loss and humiliation He was choosing for our sakes and for the glory of His Father.
How does this humility manifest itself in our own lives, thoughts, attitudes and actions? What does it look like?
God is impelling us to intentionally seek to follow the example of Jesus. To look for opportunities daily to love the unlovable, giving up some of our own pleasures and desires to value others, especially those most rejected and devalued by men. Look for the most needy, those who are unable to give us anything in return. Choose friendship with the less fun, the less intelligent, the less accepted. Choose to be unpopular for the sake of mercy and love. This may mean choosing to spend time in service to others rather than things that seem more likely to bring enjoyment, satisfaction and escape, such as reading and other hobbies. Arranging our lives in such a way that we are seeking to share this great treasure, this perfect pearl of Jesus, with others, even if it seems at times to the loss of our own pleasure, personal good, and reputation.