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Showing Humility Is Showing Jesus
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather; in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV).
Jesus walked the earth and engaged in meaningful and transformational relationships with people. Today, we are called to be in relationship with Him and with others. But how can we be the Face of God to others in our relationships? Some may dismiss this notion out of hand because we are not Jesus. How can we be expected to show His face?
The simple answer is we can’t, but with the Holy Spirit we can and we should. After His death, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon His disciples in John 20:22. The Spirit was later breathed on to us all at Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection and 10 days after the Ascension. Through our baptism and profession of faith, we also have received the power of the Holy Spirit just as the people gathered at Pentecost in Acts 2.
Our faith is evidenced in our humility with others. Humility is a form of kindness and as such is a fruit of the Spirit. The opposite of humility is narcissism, which is an extreme selfish inward focus, a lack of empathy for others, and a failure to “value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). It is inconsistent with the nature of our Lord as revealed through Scripture. Jesus described Himself as “gentle and humble at heart” (Matthew 11:29). This disorder is typically manifested in men that are inwardly spiritually bankrupt and consequentially are incapable to lead like Jesus as a servant leader.
Showing humility and blessing others can also be a blessing for ourselves. Hebrews 13:2 reads, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” I think we can safely substitute the word “humility” for “hospitality.” God often works through people that others would overlook.
We show God’s face, and humility, when we truly listen to others. According to Trevor Hudson in Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days, “Listening lies at the heart of life with God. But in order to listen to God, we need to learn how to listen to the person next to us. After all, how can we listen to God, whom we cannot see, if we cannot listen to the person we can see?” Our failure to listen is included in the prayer of confession and pardon prior to Holy Communion in the United Methodist Church – “We have not heard the cry of the needy.”
We show God’s Face, and humility, when we give honor to all and use our words to build up others. We do this by paying attention to other people. We honor others by, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4). Our real relationships with real people are important, not our status on social media or the comments of those that are slaves to gossip and division. We lay the groundwork for real relations by showing kindness to others that are not in a position to return the favor.
Meaningful relationships with others allow us to identify and respond to the needs of others. Jesus told us that, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Imitation is often called the sincerest form of flattery. As Christians, we want to imitate Jesus. The next time you are talking with a friend, stranger, or family member please listen. Jesus might be talking.
Prayer: Dear God: Bless us with lips of fire that speak your truth in love, kindness, and compassion to all that we meet. May all that we do and say bring honor to you so that others may see your Face when they see us. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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