Humility is a hard thing in a selfish world. As the old saying goes, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re so great!” The entire world around us is conditioned to self-centeredness, and we have bought in fully. To be certain, humility does not come naturally. We like to be the center of attention and to receive credit or recognition. As long as we see ourselves as the most important person in the world, we will never achieve humility. The key to being humble is to see others as more significant than you. True humility occurs when you see yourself as the servant to all, not just to a select few. Jesus was humble beyond belief. He who had more power than anyone who ever walked this earth was not too proud to wash dirty feet, touch filthy sores or to remain stoic in the face of false accusations. As with all things, Christ is our model. If He could be humble in every circumstance, then so must we.
Patience is incredibly difficult for some, and I often struggle with it. We have grown up in a world that has become increasingly “instant”. My generation has seen (so far) the advent of the personal computer, the microwave oven, the internet, the iPod, etc. I could go on and on. Every new invention seems to be geared to providing instantly what once took considerably longer to achieve. We no longer need to wait for food, entertainment or answers; they are all at our fingertips. Advertising has become a blur of images made to match (and quicken) our pulse. The world is frenetic, somewhat chaotic and ever changing. It is everything except patient. I don’t know if it was easier for earlier generations to be patient, but it certainly seems like it would have been. I have often yearned for a simpler, slower life. It seems as if this world will no longer allow it, yet still some seem to achieve it. What is the secret? How can we learn to be patient? Jesus, again, is the answer (are you sensing a theme?). He taught us to take the long view of things, to keep everything in perspective. This is the key I believe. Things that we must wait for are always sweeter than something acquired in an instant. Without patience there is a lack of appreciation. There is no bar to achievement so there is little keeping us from later easily discarding the very same thing we once “had to have”. I believe that something truly worth having is something worth waiting for; we will then have a greater appreciation for it, and we will cherish and care for what God has entrusted to us. We rarely think of impatient people as attractive; on the other hand, patient people are beautiful. They have a quiet grace about them. I believe this is why we are instructed to model this trait.
Loving one another is an old subject for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus. We must be careful not to simply gloss over the word. Jesus said we are to love Him with all of our heart and soul. This is the same love we are to give to others as well. Its one thing to give total devotion to our Lord (though if we are honest, we must admit we fail far more often than not); it is quite another thing to love a total stranger with the kind of love that dictates you would die for them. Yet this is central to being an authentic follower of Jesus. Without love, our words are useless; our actions are futile. God is beautiful because He is love. We are to reflect the glory and beauty of Christ. We can only do this if we model His love to others. Without love, you may as well not even strive for the other areas of Christ’s mission. Without love, all else is wasted and useless. Judging others is something we all do far too frequently. Jesus told us not to judge, but rather to love. Never look at anyone else as something less than yourself. Accept everyone just as they are: beautiful creations of God. Each one of us was created for a purpose and to bring glory to God. We are invaluable and priceless, each one of us. Not one soul has any more worth than another; nor do they possess any less worth. We are truly equal in God’s eyes. Show love to one another; accept every person recognizing what a marvelous creation they are. By accepting and loving others, we bring glory to God. We love as He loves.
By modeling the traits of Jesus, by incorporating His habits into our own lives, we will glorify Him and reflect His light to others. These three traits – humility, patience and love – will go a long way toward transforming your life into one that looks like Jesus. Determine to begin to work on each of these areas in your own life. Speak the words to yourself as you go throughout your day, especially in times when you are tempted to respond in a way that is contrary to these attributes. Choose to respond as Jesus would. Repeat daily. As you pursue Jesus and the life He lived, you will find that demonstrating humility, patience and love become wonderful habits in your life. In this way you will glorify God and prove yourselves worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1, 2).