Willingness to bend, submit, and yield go against the grain of human instinct. Yet, the only way up is down! The rewards to humility are many!
I am the mother of five robust sons; all exceed my height and frame by a country mile. It is only in the last ten years or so that they have given up challenging me in a “tangle”. Out of fear of hurting me, I’m sure!
In younger years when they would test my strength, I would first give them a look that questioned their sanity! You know the look a Momma gives her insolent young? The look that says, “You really don’t want to go there!”
If the look didn’t make them back down, my tenacity often would. The never-give-an-inch grit that went low and dug hard was predictably effective.
Decide in advance to go low!
Jesus noticed his group of followers patterned themselves all too easily by the cultural norm of jostling for positions of status and favour. Many times through parables or simply talking straight, he illustrated the truth that humility precedes honour.
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Kingdom principles work in complete opposite to earthly ones. The only way up is to chose to go low! It is far better to have someone else assign you a place of honour than to presume one upon yourself and end up humiliated.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”
One of my favorite biblical illustrations of someone going low is the woman with the issue of blood.
“She had suffered a great deal under the care
of many doctors and had spent all she had,
yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”
She approached from a low position with high expectation.
“Just then a woman who had been
subject to bleeding for twelve years
came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.”
This poor woman risked big! She wasn’t supposed to be in public without crying out, “Unclean! Unclean!” Yet here she was on her hands and knees in the middle of a moving crowd with one intention, touch the hem of his garment. She knew with all her being that is she did, she would be healed!
There is no mention of how many times she trampled or kicked in the process.
Jesus instantly knew something supernatural had happened. The disciples laughed it off. Dozens had touched Jesus that day as the crowd bumped along. Only one was healed!
That one was a woman who purposely went low with high expectation! Healing was hers!
Lift Them Up
Going low is the best position to lift others up. For me, the most exciting part of ministry to see others being propelled forward into excellence. I love being the one who comes underneath and gives others a boost!
It often doesn’t take much effort. At other times, however, it may require walking beside someone for years to see them advance into their full calling.
None the less it is thrilling!
Only when we position ourselves intentionally beside someone are we close enough to give them momentum to excel.
The rewards of humility are multiple! Giving our lives for the benefit of Christ and others fills one with a sense of richness.
The greatest illustration of humility is Christ Himself!
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
He took the form of humanity created from the dust of the earth! God became dirt! The Sinless and Holy wrapped in flesh! We will not fully comprehend the depth of humility Christ walked until we see Him enthroned in the place of majesty, dominion, and power –
crowned in glory,
exalted in power,
radiant in beauty,
awesome in majesty,
excellent in perfection.
What little He is asking from us to joyfully assume a low position to honour Him and others!
Further Reading –
Faith or Fear? Which Will We Choose?