The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, November 17, 2020 comes to us from John D. Brown of Minnesota
Philippians 2:3-11 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Proverbs 21:4 (NIV) Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the unplowed field of the wicked – produce sin.
One of my joys in retirement has been finding more time to read the Bible. I have been amazed by how many verses and stories pertain to humility. They have prompted me to reflect on how often my ego comes into play and manifests itself in negative ways. Pride was plagued humanity since the beginning. And our culture constantly bombards us with messages that speak to gratifying our desires through possessions, appearance, or status.
What a contrast it is to reflect on the life of our Lord and Savior! Though his coming was heralded for centuries, Jesus’ arrival was humble: in a stable and surrounded by animals. Everything Jesus did during his time on earth reflected humility, including his choice of disciples and people he associated with. His humility continued to the very end of his life on earth, when he submitted to the will of God, was arrested and tried as a criminal, and suffered torture and death on a cross.
Jesus’ humble life provides a model for us to follow. Christ the King came not to be served, but to serve (see Matthew 20:38). We can embrace that attitude and strive to do the same.
Prayer Focus: Those who struggle with pride.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when our pride and ego rise up, help us remember to model our lives after the humble example of Christ. Amen.
Thought for the Day: I will look for opportunities to follow the example of Jesus.
— John D. Brown
Micah 6:8 is one of my favorite verses of scripture: What does God require? To do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Once when I was a guest preacher, I used this passage for the first time as the scripture upon which I based that sermon.
After the service, someone I know, asked me what it means to walk humbly. I searched for wisdom, and reminded her that being humble did not mean being humiliated.
But later I heard a much better understanding: “humility does not mean thinking less of yourself; it means thinking about yourself less.”