Have you ever wished for a single all-inclusive rule for Christian living? If you simply allowed that to control your conduct you would fulfill everything expected of you as a child of God? Well, I have good news for you. Years ago God had the apostle Paul provide the answer to a little church in the town of Philippi. Here’s what he said: “Don’t do anything out of selfish concern or the desire to impress but in all humility value the interests of the other as greater than your own” (Phil. 2:3-4). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if all of us who name the name of Christ would live each day guided by that tenet, we would as a people, experience what heaven itself will be like.
The ultimate example of that kind of living is the incarnate life of the eternal Son of God. He decided to put the welfare of the rebellious human race ahead of his own. And the following verses in the chapter describe his great redemptive act of leaving the glories of heaven to become a man who would die a horrible death on a cross for the sins of those he created (vv. 6-11). That is how Jesus lived; how should we?
Humility is a word that is often misunderstood. For some, it describes a submissive, self-loathing wimp who is frightened by everything in life and cringes in the corner while others take care of him. Well, that’s an overstatement, but I think you know the Casper Milquetoast sort of bearing it describes. But humility is a strong word. It is a quality of those who are safe enough to put personal concerns aside and lend their effort to the needs of others. It has been described many times in the literature of the Western world, probably the best by C.S. Lewis who wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” I believe that humility is an act of the will in which a person intentionally decides to turn his attention to the concerns of the next person he meets or think of.” It is a near total disregard for personal advancement. Self-concern has been set aside permanently so as to allow time and strength for helping others.
One might say, “But that’s a denial of life!” Right. Didn’t Jesus say, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)? I think that to “deny” oneself means to deny oneself and to “take up his cross” means to die to self-absorption. To the response, “But that’s like death,” one can say, “No, the Christian life is possible only by that kind of death.” Again, wasn’t it the same Paul who said in chapter one of this same letter, “For me to die is gain” (1:21)? So, let’s cheer up and ”die.” Christ did, and then he set the pattern by rising to a new and glorious life.