How do you grow in humility? I know of two ways. One of them is hard and the other one stinks. The first and hard one, is to value humility so much that you develop a distaste for pride and start seeking it intentionally. The second and stinky one is to be crushed by the world and end up humiliated that your pride is flattened. The better way is to value humility by seeking it intentionally and seeing what it can bring in your life.
Humility is the active rejection of pride in all of its forms and the active pursuit of the character of Jesus. Humility is active. You have to turn your mind on to see those things. Ask yourself: where does pride exist in me? If Jesus is anything in a word, humble has got to be at the top of the list. He who did not consider equality with God but humbled himself to take the form of a servant, not only a servant but one who died on the cross in great humiliation.
He’s the King of the universe, nothing was created apart from Him, not the floor you’re standing on, or the air in your lungs, and yet He says, “I did not come to be served but to serve.” Jesus is humility incarnated.
There are many ways we can be intentional and seek humility. We can bear someone else’s praise while being forgotten. Many times, the opportunity arises, and we want to protest and say “Me! It’s because of me!” We can remain open to questioning when someone challenges us. We don’t always have to be right. We can also stop comparing ourselves to others to feel better about ourselves. Comparison will allow pride to thrust itself through soil and grow fruit. Don’t allow it.
Grace reminds us of who we are in Christ.When we look at our life and understand that everything is by His grace, it changes our hearts and minds to radically approach the relationships in our life. You didn’t earn it. You don’t deserve it. We were all at the bottom and Jesus saved us. Work on yourself and reject pride in your life. Jesus at the end of His life, during the last supper with His friends, knelt down in front of every disciple to wash their feet. If our Savior, the God of the universe can do that, why wouldn’t we actively pursue the same approach to everyone in our life? Humility is a gift of God’s grace in your life.
For more Grace – Simple. Profound. resources – podcasts with Scot Pollok, and a downloadable book – visit gsot.edu/simplegrace. The Grace Center for Spiritual Development at Grace School of Theology provides non-degree studies, live online bible study opportunities, and resources like this devotional.
Servants Of Christ
In chapter 4, Paul begins to change the game a bit. He turns down the heat on the Corinthians just a little because he had been speaking to them sharply in the past chapters. He says, “Think of us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
What is your identity? People mostly answer that question with a title. I’m a mom. I’m a dad. A doctor. A husband or wife. But that’s not necessarily your identity. It’s regarding the world but what about your identity in Christ? Well, you’re an adopted son. A forever daughter; fully known, loved and welcomed into God’s family. That’s your identity. You don’t have to perform to stay with God. He has declared you righteous. It’s God’s gift of grace because of what Jesus did, which was the most expensive gift ever purchased, and that’s what you’re worth.
Paul wants us to think of him as a servant of Christ. Think about that for a second. Who determines the specifics of servitude when you’re a servant? Do you? Of course not, your master does. When you are a steward, one who has been entrusted, who declares whether you’re good at that job? The one who has entrusted things to you. Paul is saying that Christ is the Lord of their service and God is the stand of their stewardship.
The Corinthians had judgmental attitudes and Paul wanted them to know that he doesn’t care who is judging him, he doesn’t even judge himself because God is the one who examines us. I wish I had Paul’s heart because judgment bothers me. Judgment is hard. However, his point is he can’t judge himself as the servant. The Master, our Lord is the one who judges. If God is the one who judges us why are we judging each other? It is not our place to do so.
How many relational problems find their root in judgment and pride? I think a lot. Paul asks, “What is so special about you? … And why do you brag?” Pride, judging, bragging is what causes our relational problems. Many times, we act like the Corinthians thinking we are better than others. The question (again) is what would your life be without Jesus? The answer is: we were all in the same place, at the bottom of a deep dark hole. God’s grace found us when we were helpless and sinners.
God’s grace is the only reason why we are out of the hole. When you grab on to that thought, it can become a radical new way of seeing the relationships we are in. It defuses judgment, superiority, and classism of every kind. It’s the gift of humility inside of grace.
Life Before Christ
What would your life look like without Jesus? I don’t know if you think about that, but I think about it often. I shudder at the thought of what my life would be without Jesus. I’m sure my heart would be cold because I felt it headed that way when I met Christ. I’d probably be very lonely. I may have had all kinds of addictions and seeking glory for myself. I don’t know where I would be. The reason that I ask you is because the answer to the question is important. The gift of God’s grace in your life should remind you of who you were without Him. As we look at the very relational aspect of God’s grace in this plan, it will help us understand how we can approach relationships in an entirely new way.
How do you approach relationships in your life? Do you approach them in a stranger danger, stay low, protect your valuables, kind of way? Are you distant in your relationships because people have hurt you in the past?
Relationships are heavy and hard. They can give us the greatest amount of joy yet can wound us like no knife can. I would like to show you today one of the gifts of God’s grace that will radically change the way that you and I can approach relationships. The book of Corinthians was written by Paul and Sosthenes. Corinth was a very metropolitan city at the time. It was a combination of New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. There were 26 places of worship to different Gods, not least of which was the massive temple on top of the mountain behind the city called Acrocorinth. It was a city where people were searching for wisdom, sensual pleasures, wealth, independence. And in the midst, there was a small church that Paul was influential in and wrote the letters to the church of Corinth addressing these specific issues. The first 4 chapters are about relationships; about divisions, quarrels, and disunity.
We’re going to look at chapter 4 in this plan but let’s recap the previous 3 chapters. The first 3 chapters, Paul wants to address the issues that the Corinthians are having. He tells them that the reason they’re fighting is due to pride and pride is not from Jesus. He then asks them, “Where were you when Christ rescued you?” The Corinthians had become judgmental and thought they were better than others. What Paul wanted them to see was that pride had taken over their hearts, hence, the cause of the division and quarrels between their relationships. Paul is asking them, “Where were you before Jesus?” Why? Because that very question reminds us all that we were all in the same place before Christ.