Good To Think About

Published on Oct 19th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Good To Think About

Good to Think About

A man is walking down the street and sees a piece of garbage on the ground. He stops, picks it up, and throws it in a nearby garbage can. A woman is demeaned by one of her co-workers and she responds in kindness. A child feels very strongly that his team is way better than his friends favorite team but he listens quietly as his friend shares the highlights of the last game. All acts of humility. Humility is a virtue that is often neglected. If we are not careful, our lack of attention to humility will allow the culture to define humility, or lack of humility, for us. We are told that we need to think of number one because no one else will. We are told that if we do not possess super confidence, to the point of near arrogance, we will never be able to be fully successful. I watch the political scene and am saddened by how much each candidate must blow their own trumpet in order to prove to people that they are worthy to serve. It just seems backwards to me that this person we are electing to serve us is forced to brag so much about themselves. We are then surprised as they serve their own interests and not ours. Have we as a society so minimized the virtue of humility that even believers have put it on the back burner?

Philippians 2 is very clear. Listen to Paul, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” Phil 2:3. That is a convicting verse. We are not to do anything for our own selfish ambition or to make us look good. Yowsa. Think back over your last week. How many times did you say or do things to make yourself look good? How often did you choose to manipulate a situation or even a person so you could get your own way? I know we are adults but did you notice how often you had an outburst of anger or a time of pouting because something did not go your way? We recognize these outbursts in our children but often miss them in our own lives. I Peter 5 tells us that we should “clothe ourselves in humility”. Each day we choose what clothes we are going to wear that day. We often take the time to plan out what we need to wear. Peter reminds us that just like we choose and plan our clothes we need to choose and plan to live in humility today. It is not a natural response. We usually choose to fight or take flight in difficult situations but God tells us to choose real might by acting in a humble way. Backing down does not show weakness but is often a choice designed to bring glory to God as we choose to honor his desire for peace.

Humility is a choice. You can certainly demand your rights. After all, it’s your right. You can probably win an argument. You can even be justified in gaining advantage over your coworker. But you will not be humble. You will not bring full glory to God. Remember how demanding Paul’s words were? “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit”. Those are difficult words and they get more difficult when you add the next phrase, “Count others more significant than yourselves”. Maybe you lose the argument but gain a friend. Maybe you are wronged but others are benefited? Sounds a whole lot like the Lord Jesus.

In fact, if you keep reading in Philippians Paul uses the coming of the Lord Jesus to earth as our greatest example of humility. Weigh your losses or injustices against the losses and injustices that Jesus experienced. He lived humbly so that we could experience changed lives that have the choice to live humbly. We do not simply choose to live humbly by our own will or strength but we are able to choose humility because of the new life he has created within us. We are able to reflect his life in ours because of the work he has accomplished in us. When we choose to clothe ourselves in humility we choose to live in him and for him.

It seems silly that I should, like a coach in the locker room, be exhorting you to go out there and live in humility. It just seems out of place with the idea being humble. But we are exhorted in the Word of God to clothe ourselves in humility. Choose humility today. Live like Jesus.

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