What do you believe? I mean really, really believe…enough to base your life on? Do you believe Jesus is truly the Son of God Who lived, died and was resurrected so we can be saved? Do you believe He really meant what He taught? It seems many professing Christians do not believe everything He said. Instead, they are trying to make his teachings more acceptable to our society so more people will “accept Christ”. But have they really accepted Christ, the real Jesus? When we change what He said by giving our interpretation of what Jesus “really meant”, we have ceased to share the truth Jesus taught. Oh, that instead of trying to change Jesus, we would allow Him to change us and transform us to His image. Oh, that we would allow the “hardness” of His teachings to draw us closer to the Christ of the teachings. When we really know Him, His “commandments are not grievous (burdensome).”
I fear we have become too much like the crowd who said, “This is a hard saying”, and walked away from following Jesus. If the first century Christians had softened all the “hard sayings” of Jesus, Christianity would have disappeared before it ever began. But God always has a remnant of those who truly know Him, who will take Him at His Word and submit to Him. When the crowd left, Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they would leave too. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, NKJV) They stayed because they believed. They believed because they knew Him.
Some of the crowd that Jesus had fed asked Him, “What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One Whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29, Amplified Bible) We cannot do the work of God without a belief in Jesus Christ that we base our lives on. If we don’t trust Who He is and what He said, we cannot do the work of God, because we will not follow Him. Jesus loves us so completely and undeservedly that He not only gave His life for us, but boldly told us the truth. He never backed down to gain a convert because compromised truth ceases to be truth and loses the power of truth. Yet real truth is there for anyone who wants it. And only the truth can set us free. We need to explore the teachings and examples of Jesus and begin to do the work of God. Let’s look at His humility, because we find that many other teachings are also understood and accomplished through humility.
Jesus was selfless. He had no interest in fulfilling the dictates of His flesh. He wasn’t seeking fame, position or money. His whole purpose was to do the will of the Father. 1 Peter 2:21-24 tells us that is to be our purpose also. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself [His cause] to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed.” We are to follow His example even unto death. This is the humility that Jesus taught and lived. He wasn’t setting His own agenda. He listened to the Father. Then He said what the Father said, and did whatever the Father told Him to do. It was not always easy. He proved that in the Garden of Gethsemane when He struggled against His flesh, but obeyed the will of the Father.
Jesus was completely submitted to the Father. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, NKJV) We do well to follow Jesus in His humility and submission to God. God can do great things through a submitted vessel.
Andrew Murray said, “I feel deeply that we have very little conception of what the Church suffers from the lack of this divine humility, the nothingness that makes room for God to prove His power…Let us consider deeply how far the disciples were advanced while this grace was still so terribly lacking, and let us pray to God that other gifts may not so satisfy us, that we never grasp the fact that the absence of this grace is the secret cause why the power of God cannot do its mighty work. It is only where we, like the Son, truly know and show that we can do nothing of ourselves, that God will do all.” He goes on to say that humility is the “place of entire dependence on God” and is the “root of every virtue”.
If we want God to do great things through us, we must stop trying to do it on our own. The effort we expend is to be in carrying out what God says, not in using our own wisdom and power to accomplish our will. The hearts of those who have a real desire to follow Jesus, are broken when we learn how far we are from His humility. But it can also create a stronger desire to cut off self to make room for God alone. That is what Jesus did to His flesh. He gave it no voice, no thought, no chance to act of its own accord. Allowing self to dictate even part of our lives is to allow pride to have its way.
Think of the purity of heart Adam and Eve had when they were first created and placed in the Garden of Eden. They simply fellowshipped freely with God and obeyed what He had told them. Why? They believed Him. That all changed when Satan entered the Garden and they listened to him. They believed him and began to distrust God. Satan had the root of pride in him, and he was able to transplant part of that into Adam and Eve through His deception and cunning. He said they could have so much more, but, instead, he caused them to lose the best and trade it for sin, sorrow, pain, lies and eternal death. That is what pride does to us. It strips us of our belief in God and causes us to believe in self. It removes humility and purity.
It was pride that caused the downfall of Satan. He was thrown out of heaven because he tried to usurp God. He tried to be God. He didn’t succeed. But he still tries to sow the seed of pride in every human heart. He told Adam and Eve that they could be like God through their own wisdom, and power. He lied and they lost out. Pride binds us and kills us. Humility raises us to new heights with God. Remember how Satan tried to pull the same scam on Jesus? He promised Him instant comfort, fame, and worship. Everything that appeals to the pride of the flesh. He will try that scam on you, too. But Jesus showed us and told us the way to all these things is humility, emptying ourselves of self and allowing God to fill us.
How do we attain this humility? Ask Jesus. He said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
When some of Jesus’ disciples asked for the seats of honor in Jesus’ kingdom, the other disciples found out and were angry. Then Jesus called them all to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but, whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, NKJV) Jesus said if you want to be great in His kingdom, you have to learn to be the servant of all.
Serving God is one thing, but serving others? What about the other “disciples” who are not as important as we are? Let’s see what Jesus said about that. “So when He [Jesus] had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:12-14, NKJV, emphasis mine)
Take note that Jesus even washed the feet of Judas. Which brings us to another question. What about our enemies? I believe Jesus had something to say about that, too. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NKJV)
What do we do when someone does something “unforgiveable” to us? What did Jesus do when He hung on the cross? “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:33-35, NKJV) Jesus also told us, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV) Hard sayings? Yes, but they are truth that will free us!
Humility frees us from bitterness, plotting revenge, anger, jealousy and hatred. It empties our souls of self and leaves room for the Spirit of God to fill us, lead us, comfort us, and work miracles through us.
Learn His humility
Empty of self
Filled with God