Have you ever wondered how much of your humility and servant attitude is truly Christlike? You can easily find out—the next time you are given the opportunity to submit yourself to someone who, in your estimation, should be serving under you. How do you react? What are your thoughts and feelings? Is your heart at peace and your joy undisturbed, or do you struggle with resentment?
In one of our offices, a capable brother who had been with us for many years was asked by his superior to take on another position that carried a greater responsibility and a heavier workload. The brother felt honored by the offer and he understood how the change would benefit the overall work, but he responded, “I have great difficulties in making this change.” When asked why, he replied, “I am older, and I have been here longer, and now I would have to report to someone who is younger than me. It is below my dignity. I don’t think I can handle it.”
The leader prayed for this brother and gave him a copy of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. A few days later after reading the book, which deals with brokenness and humility in a believer’s life, the older brother was willing to accept his new position. And ever since, he has faithfully worked together with and reported to the younger brother.
Andrew Murray includes in his small book titled Humility the essence of the following text (paraphrased):
Humility is far more than being broken because of our sin. It is participation in the very life of Jesus. Humility is the only root from which the genuine fruit of the Spirit can grow. Pride degraded the highest angels into devils. Humility on the other hand, has raised fallen men to the throne of angels. The great purpose of God in raising up a new creation is to demonstrate this great truth throughout eternity that all evil begins from pride and that all goodness springs from humility.
In Ezekiel 28:11–17 and Isaiah 14:12–15, the Bible gives us an account of the creation of the archangel Lucifer and what happened to him when he abandoned humility.
The Word of God points out that Lucifer was perfect in two things: wisdom and beauty. That’s about the ultimate dream someone could wish for himself. Not even Solomon, whom God granted to be the richest and wisest man under the sun, could claim to be perfect in wisdom and beauty.
The Apostle Paul had such incredible revelations and an understanding of the Word of God, yet he still says in Philippians 3:10 that his greatest desire is “that I may know Him.” And when Paul lists all his accomplishments and outstanding achievements, he never mentions a word about his physical appearance. Tradition says Paul was a hopeless- looking creature: short, bald, bowlegged, hunched over and partially blind.
Yet here was Lucifer, head of the archangelic order, absolutely perfect in wisdom and beauty. But the day came when this wasn’t enough for him. What happened? His heart was lifted up by pride.
Nowhere do we read that he conducted a huge rally in heaven to voice his opinion before the rest of the angels. No, he simply said in his heart—no words spoken—“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13, 14).
And God immediately cast him down.
Through Lucifer’s pride, Adam and the entire human race fell. Pride is the root of all sin and evil that came into the universe. But our salvation, redemption and recovery can only come through the humility of the second Adam— Christ.
Philippians 2:5–8 shows us the heart of Jesus, which is diametrically opposite to Lucifer’s. Instead of looking for ways to go up, Jesus looked for ways to step down. He laid aside all His glory and emptied Himself to become a man. But He didn’t stop there. His humility took Him much farther: “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).
The Bible says in the following verses that this was exactly the reason why God highly exalted Him.
Seeing our struggle with pride, Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:29 to follow His example: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (emphasis mine).
This simply means that if we take the low road like Jesus did, all our striving will come to an end. And when we are asked to submit to someone who is younger or to serve others instead of being served, we will find that our hearts will be at peace.
Do you want to be more like Jesus? Look for opportunities to humble yourself.
Destined to Soar © 2009 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.