Sometime early in this year, our pastor challenged us to select a focus word that would remind us all year of our relationship to Jesus Christ. I’ve done this before, usually picking a verse rather than a word, but a word popped to mind almost immediately. It was “kept.” Within a few days, the Holy Spirit led me to a verse that expressed the thoughts that would bless me all year . . .
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
I needed that prayer and promise as 2014 was a year of battle. Strong attacks from the liar attempted to un-glue me from God. Being kept was important. Being kept blameless was even more important.
For the coming year, I’ve been praying for an appropriate word, not knowing what lies ahead. The word that keeps coming to mind is “humility.” This word is often misunderstood. It is not about thinking less of myself, but about thinking of myself less. It is about having the mind of Christ rule my life so I give greater effort to better serving the needs of others.
How appropriate on this day before the New Year begins that my devotional booklet should take me to a passage that reveals the mind of Jesus Christ and His passion for others. He had no concern about His reputation or what anyone thought of Him. All He was interested in was doing the will of God. Herein lies the wonder and the freedom of humility . . .
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:1–11)
Jesus was God in human flesh, but He didn’t consider that a big deal. Instead, He thought about and served others, even to death on a cross. He trusted His Father to do right. He sweat blood yet said, “Not my will but Yours be done.” He also anticipated the joy set before Him so endured the cross and kept His mind on the goal. This was the greatest act ever, and this is also humility.