God speaks to us through the words written by Paul to the Christian group in Philippi: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Why? That cuts right across popular opinion and our own natural inclination. Why should we take this as a word from the Lord? Because, Paul goes on to say, quoting a beautifully expressed poem, that this is the attitude shown by Jesus, and if the Spirit of Christ is in us, we will follow him in that path of humility. It’s not a put-on humility. It’s not manufactured. Its basis is love. In his humility and self-giving, Christ displayed the very apex of what should be human character and quality. Jesus Christ is king. In all his humility, he is to be worshiped and obeyed. He is to be honoured above all other people. His name is above every other name. So, when we re-read passages about the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem, we see them as another presentation of this same theme: the one who rides on a donkey into Jerusalem is the king who rules in humility and in love. It has never been done by any other king, monarch, president or prime minister before him or since. Political leadership requires a certain amount of hubris. Only strong egos rise to the top. National pride holds a nation together. But, as Jesus told Pilate, his kingdom does not have its origin in human politics; it is of God. God’s realm is radically different from all others. That’s why it comes into collision with so much of human ambition and pride. His humility is even different. Without any element of cringe, self-abasement, resentment or bitterness, Christ’s humility is simply the outworking of divine love, and the presence of God’s love-filled Spirit in our lives leads us along that same path. So, the call to show humility in our dealings with other people is a call to be true to the Spirit of Christ within us.
- Amongst the selfish ambition and vanity around us we do see humility being expressed. Think of instances where you have seen this perhaps in the news or in personal contacts.
- What is the difference between humility as a moral quality and humility arising out of love?
- If the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem was an announcement that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah, what sort of Messiah was he?
- Apart from humility, how else is the Spirit of Christ manifested in a person’s life.