Peter wasn't the only one to deal with this topic.....Paul focused in (like a laser!) on it too!
Our Savior went to the cross because He counted our needs more important than His rightful place. Jesus deserves honor, glory, dominion, and power. He is the eternal, all-wise, all-perfect, and sinless One. But He put all of that aside. For us.
Just one word from Him would have brought 10,000 angels, armed to the teeth and full of fight, to His relief. He was silent, when one quiet word would have instantly transported Him back to glory, and sent us to well-deserved punishment.
When we fellowship with Him, He teaches us the freedom and joy of considering others' needs more pressing than our own. Frequent thoughts of His grace on the cross is our path to humility.
We are given some pretty daunting instructions here.....to "clothe" ourselves with humility, to "have the mind of Christ," and even to humble ourselves "under the mighty hand of God."
What are some steps we can take, to accomplish these things?
I guess the first step is to recognize our pride, and admit it! Our Savior would not have warned so often about pride if it were not a common problem for us humans! We all have it. Some admit it, and some don't. (Grin) Pride is the desire to be recognized when we serve others. Pride rises into anger when people don't ask our opinion, or ignore us when we volunteer it. Pride pushes us to "get what is fair." Pride can fuel our goals, instead of the desire to give glory to God. Pride makes us care less about being good, and more about being better than someone else. Like the Psalmist says in Psalm 10:4, when there is pride in our heart, no room is left for our God.
We need to first recognize it and admit we have a problem.....
The second step is to ask God for humility.
But wait a minute! We were made in the image of the king; we are daughters of the Most High! Don't we "deserve" honor?
Well, how will we get it? We have a choice..... we can grab for it, clutch at it, scrape and claw past other people, seek with all our might to obtain that for which we were created...... makes sense, right? We were made for this so we go for it!
Uh, no. Can we stop a minute and look at Jesus' example? He chose a different path. He released glory to grasp humility.....what happened?
It seems way too grand to imagine a similar fate for us -- as sinners (even though we were created in His image) we don't deserve such honor. Jesus reached out and took hold of what He didn't deserve -- humiliation -- and the Father gave Him what is rightfully His -- honor, glory, praise, the Name above every name.
In faith, when we reach out and take hold of what we do deserve (humiliation) the Father gives us gifts in exchange: He gives us honor, privilege, and rewards. How can this be? It sounds too good to be true! But the scriptures tell us it is indeed the truth:
God....gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
We are indeed made for glory, but not for taking it. Instead, for reflecting back the glory of Christ Jesus. This is our delight, our joy. Not so much being made glorious, as given the delight of reflecting His glory. We are never so much alive than when we allow our thoughts to be far from what brings us exaltation..... when we are truly humble, there will be no pretense. We will wait when others speak, instead of feeling that we must interrupt and correct someone. When others are waiting on something, we will graciously allow them to go first. When someone needs something, we will supply that need. Peter, and Paul, too, are telling us that thinking more highly of others than self is the path to humility.
Are there humbling circumstances in our lives? How do we handle these times?
It is humbling to be maligned or falsely accused. It is humbling to lose our financial footing. It feels belittling to not have a job, or have trouble paying the mortgage. Other situations may arise that take our footsteps into more humble territory. We can either fight and scratch or we can place the situation into God's hands. Peter tells us to humble ourselves "under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt" us in due time. Sometimes God's hands lift us up; but there are times when He holds us down. Sometimes He lets us be the head end of the cow costume, and other times He says we are the tail end!
Working humility in our souls may be more valuable for us in the long term. More valuable to our souls than getting that job, getting pats on the back for a job well done, or for being appreciated. Pride is our biggest problem, and God wants us to be free from Satan's clutches.
That pat on the back will come.
That job (or a better one) will happen.
We will be appreciated for the gifts God has given us.
In His timing.
God gives us grace. He will work with us to produce humility, to emulate our example, our Savior.
The end result?
What a promise!
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)Lord, give me grace to accept your working in my life!