© Marco Desscouleurs – Fotolia.com
One key lesson God has re-iterated to me whilst I have been on holidays is the need to have a humble heart in order to serve Him effectively. 1 Peter 5:5 says that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Yet for many years in my walk with God I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be humble. I don’t think it would be too far fetched to assume many others Christian’s might have a distorted view as well. For some time I used to think of humility as not thinking much of myself. Thinking of myself as less than others. I would even go to the point of putting myself down in front of others to show them “how humble” I was. What a distorted view of humility I had! If I was brutally honest with myself, I often put myself down with the hope of those around me pumping up my ego! How foolish!
So what is it to have a humble heart?
Jesus portrays it beautifully when He washes His disciples’ feet (John 13). You can see how my earlier distorted view of humility could easily come out of this example. Jesus showed himself to do the lowest of the low in washing his disciples’ smelly feet! But did Jesus do this to show He was less than others? No, of course not! He knew He was the precious Son of God! All things were created in and through Him (John 1; Colossians 1). He simply did it as an act of service and care for His disciples. It didn’t matter what the job entailed. What did matter was that Jesus was willing to serve those around Him… to show His love for them. This is clearly highlighted by His sacrificial, humiliating and horrific death on the cross. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8-10). This is the phenomenal love that God showers us with! That is what humility is about – to think of others as opposed to ourselves, to being interested in them and thinking what you can do to build them up. Humility is not falsely thinking of our abilities as less valuable than they really are. Rather is about self-forgetfulness, about thinking of others more than ourselves and what we can do to love and serve them.
Consider how we can Serve by Building up Others.
Don’t get me wrong here. This doesn’t mean we don’t need to invest in ourselves to ensure we are growing in our relationship with God. Jesus always made time to commune with His Father and to be spiritually fed. Paul spent many years in preparation before heading out on his God-given work to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Our time with God and periods of rest fuel us so that we can better serve. The point I am trying to make is that we are to spend more and more of our energy looking to how we can build up others in our service for them. Jesus’ work on the cross is the perfect example. In fact, His death on the cross and victory over death humbles us by reminding us how glorious God is and how sinful we are. Apart from Christ’s atoning death on the cross, none of us would be made worthy to be with God, to enter through heaven’s gates. Remembering that hard truth every day both humbles us and gives us the strength, zeal and hope to love and serve others as Christ first did for us.
So no matter who you are, or what you have done in the past, draw close to the fact that Christ died for your sins on the cross so that you may have hope in Him, that you may be freed from God’s pending judgement… freed to serve him and others out of love and appreciation for what Jesus has done for us.It doesn’t matter what tasks you choose in serving others, whether they be great or small. What matters is that you do it with a desire to serve and care for those around you and to build them up in the hope that God has given us in Christ. The joy we receive in serving others and God is a treasure to which nothing in this world can compare.