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Humility defined

I’ve spent a lot of time in Philippians 2. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher required our class to memorize the majority of this chapter of Scripture throughout the school year. Yes, I went to Christian school, and so this was commonplace. I can’t say I loved Scripture memorization much then, but I can tell you that I’m so incredibly grateful for it now. I was 9 years old when I memorized these verses, and I can still remember them today, almost 25 years later.

God’s Word written on my heart.

And I LOVE Philippians 2! Among other things, it paints an incredibly accurate picture of what true humility is. Growing up in the church world, surrounded by Christians, I caught on pretty quickly how to talk the talk…which is far different than walking the walk.

While I memorized this passage as a child, I never fully grasped the weight of it until I was much older. Especially these two verses right here:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

How much more counter-cultural could you possibly be? Everything in our society instructs us to do the opposite. Look out for number one. My time is more valuable than your time (which is why I’ll cut you off on my way to work). Make sure you take care of yourself first. You can’t care for others if you don’t first care for yourself.

When I read these words in Philippians 2, I hardly even know what that looks like anymore. We don’t see much of this kind of behavior in our world today, and when we do, we applaud and cheer for the person with little to no conviction to behave in a similar manner. “She’s such a good person. I could never do that!”

And in our pursuit of self, we’ve forgotten to look to Jesus. He is our example of humility in a pride-filled world. He humbled Himself to come down to us. He valued our lives above His very own. He looked to our interests instead of His own. That is the definition of humility.

What if you and I started living like Jesus? What if we started loving like Jesus? What if we started humbling ourselves like Jesus? I’ll tell you this. If you and I humbled ourselves more and elevated ourselves less, people would see Jesus in us, and the Jesus they saw would appear far more attractive than our mere words.


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