"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, regard others as better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NRSV)
In the movie Wall Street the main character, ambitious and ruthless Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, says, "The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind." Sadly, this selfish attitude has been prevalent in the world since Genesis 3, when in conceit and rebellion, Adam and Eve rejected God.
Paul often preached and wrote about the importance of humility–no doubt a result of his radical conversion on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 when he miraculously transforms from persecutor to servant. In this letter, Paul shares the example of humility in Jesus Christ. "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross." (5-8)
We are bombarded daily with messages telling us humility is a weakness–to be strong, we must constantly look out for number one. Whether that number one is us individually or the groups we identify with. The human constructs of evolution and survival of the fittest subconsciously cloud our thinking. We may feel suspicious, threatened, and fearful of anyone who is not us. But this is Satan talking.
Humility is not weakness but strength found in Christ's blood. It doesn't mean rolling over but standing against wrong with conviction. It demonstrates the love Christ shows for us to others, even when that love leads us into unfamiliar and uncomfortable places.
Precious and loving God, we give you thanks for your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the humility that led him to the cross for our sins. Today, please help us die to our selfish ambition and conceit; instead, help us emulate Christ and show your love to everyone. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.