The life of Jesus was marked by humility, yet we who claim to be His followers rarely live with the same goal. We spend most of our days in vain pursuits, determined to climb the ladder, find happiness, avoid suffering, and generally promoting ourselves at every opportunity. While Jesus spent his life relinquishing His own glory, we spend our lives pursuing it.
To be a follower of Jesus, we must spend our lives dedicated to living as He did. Yet somehow we’ve twisted that into some bizarre blend of the American dream. The unspoken truth is the so-called American dream is in direct opposition to the dreams of God for your life.
God’s dream for your life (and for mine) is you live a life that looks like Jesus. Few would argue with that, but most are also constantly trying to figure out what else God has called them to do. Putting aside the problematic theological support for specific callings on your life, how about we start with doing the things to which we know for certain God has called every individual. Jesus lived a life of humility, always putting the needs of others before His own. Indeed, He said the greatest commandment of all was actually in two parts: to love God with our entire self, and to love everyone else in the same way. Do you realize how much less stress and conflict would exist in your life if you simply obeyed this command?
Jesus despised racism and went out of His way to minister to those such as Samaritans and Romans whom the Jews of His day looked upon with contempt. Few want to admit to being racist, but I submit we all harbor some modicum of this evil in our hearts. What is the first thought which enters your mind when you see someone of a different nationality or even skin tone? Is your preliminary thought of how that person is of unsurpassable worth in the eyes of God? Are you immediately compelled to smile and greet them, to reflect God’s love to them? If not, there is at least a little racism in you. This is not something that has any place in the life of a Christ follower. Racism – at its core – is about thinking you are better than someone else; this is the antithesis of humility.
The life of Jesus was the ultimate example of humility. The Creator of the Universe subjected Himself to the limits of His creation for one reason: to demonstrate His love for us. He submitted to Satan’s distortion of His creation by allowing people to physically and mentally abuse Him. Yet He offered no words in defense. He resisted using His power to strike back. Instead, He said to His Father, “Not My will but Yours” (Matthew 26:39). When people laughed at Him, Jesus simply turned the other cheek. When others mocked Him, He looked at them with grace and love.
If we want to be disciples of this King, we must pattern our lives after His. We must be ever humble, ever gracious, and ever loving. Failure to do so is failure to look like and follow Christ. Let’s forget the American dream and our rebellious self-promotion. If we are all for Jesus, then our lives must be all about Him. Humility and discipleship go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.