The theme in our children’s ministry for the month of April is “humility”. One evening this past week, my family and I sat around the table talking about humility. We discussed one of the main points on the God-time card, that humility is not natural. This point seemed to draw out the most conversation with the kids as we talked about how we naturally respond to situations. Most of the time, we enter a situation with “our” needs at the front of our minds. It is actually difficult to place the needs of others above our own. It is simply not natural (according to the perversion of sin).
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
We read this passage together and I was immediately struck by the significance within. You see, when we think about Easter and all that Christ has done for us, we immediately go to Christ’s obedience to die on the cross. We are overwhelmed by the passion week, beginning with Christ washing the feet of his disciples and ending with him dying for us all. We are rightfully overwhelmed as we realize the completeness of the way he loves us. From the least act, as a servant, to the great act of laying down his life. There is nothing that can stop him from loving us. All of this is biblically accurate. But make no mistake, in the passage above, Paul ventures into describing the heart of Christ as he chose to take on the form of man in order to save. God’s sacrifice of His Son on the cross is combined with Jesus’ humility to place our need for a savior over His rightful place in heaven. Christ’s heart of humility preceded his world-shattering act of obedience. This is the heart of the Gospel, and it has practical implications for all of us.
I know that it may sound like a small nuance, but in our effort to be imitators of God (Eph 5:1) and fulfill the great commission (Matt. 28), do we begin with a heart of humility? Sometimes, the church approaches evangelism as if it is a necessary evil. I don’t mean evil as in morally wrong, but in the sense that not many people get excited about doing it. We know that when you take the chance to share your faith with someone it is very possible to get shut down, and that can hurt. But, when I read a passage like the one above, I am overwhelmed with conviction in my heart. Jesus knew that his decision was to be rejected to the point of brutal death. But he did not place his wants above our needs (think about Jesus’ prayer in the garden before he was arrested.).
Easter is all about the message the entire earth needs to hear. Honestly, every Sunday for that matter. This Easter I am asking God to, unnaturally, give me the eyes and the heart to see clearly, and place the need of the Gospel above everything else. I pray that our hearts are humbled as we walk through our neighborhood, pick up our kids from school, walk through the grocery store, etc. Will you place the need of our community above your own and be obedient to the Gospel this Easter? Let us follow the bold example of our Lord Jesus Christ in humility.