Thursday, October 29, 2015

Humility and love for God

"If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any deep-feelings and compassions, 2 fill-up my joy, which is that you be thinking the same thing, having the same love, united-in-spirit, thinking the one thing, 3 doing nothing based-on selfish-interest nor based on conceit, but with humble-mindedness regarding one another as surpassing yourselves; 4 not each looking-out-for your own things, but also each the things of others." Philippians 2:1-4 (Disciples Literal New Testament)

Jerry Bridges, in his book, The Discipline of Grace, says that love is the primary teaching of the New Testament, and humility is a close second. I did a Google search for “humility in the Bible” and came up with around 70 occurrences of the word, or references to putting others before ourselves. I must confess that this is a trait that I struggle with each day and each moment of my life. How about you?

The scripture passage above struck my heart with a renewed desire to seek God before myself. Paul said to the Philippians that the best way to encourage him and to fill his heart with joy is to be of the same mind—be unified in thoughts of love. If each of us put others before ourselves, think what a witness the church would be to the world. People would desire to become a part of a fellowship that provided such an example of God’s love toward us.

One thing that we must keep in mind is that loving others and pleasing others are two different things. Loving others should result from a desire to seek God every minute of our lives, not a desire to make others comfortable and like us. When we seek to please others, we allow other people to control the personal boundaries that only God should control. When we seek God in every aspect of our lives, then the ability to put others before ourselves becomes a way to demonstrate God’s grace.

One day, we will be a part of a perfect fellowship such as this. God loves us so much that He wants us to spend eternity with Him in a fellowship that exalts God above everything else. In spite of our sin, God sent His son to die for us so that we might be judged righteous before Him. This love humbles me because I am so unworthy. This humility also helps me to recognize that we are all in the same boat, and that God’s love is the same for my fellow man as for me. When I think of this, I want to consider others better than myself, because of the joy that this brings to God, and the joy that pleasing God brings to me. Praise God for His grace!