Embracing The Lowliness of Jesus – Matthew 11:28-30
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28)
The passage above is one of the few places Jesus described his own character. He could have emphasized his holiness, glory, mercy, power and much more. Instead, he brought attention to his lowliness and gentleness (or meekness). According to Jesus, lowliness is a goal. Becoming a servant of all is our highest priority.
Meekness is power under control – the restraining of oneself for a higher purpose. Opportunities for showing meekness emerge when we are mistreated or in a situation where our perceived rights have been violated. Mistreatment is a tool to test a believer’s meekness. Jesus was consistently mistreated yet did not respond. It should not be forgotten, however, that he could have. He had the position and authority (as God in the flesh), yet restrained that power in obedience to the eternal purposes of the Father.
It’s the same today. Few will be won to Jesus through a gospel presentation alone. They need a manifestation in the message of Christian humility and meekness, attracting them to the saviour testified about. This is biblical humility and a spiritual key of those serving as Jesus’ message bearer. Humility is not natural, which is why when demonstrated it possesses spiritual authority to touch hearts.
Being Humble Before God
What does it mean to humble ourselves before God? It means surrendering the self-life. The self-life is one reason Christians aren’t seeing more of the power of God working in and through us. God wants to give us so much more, releasing hundredfold blessing through us and our ministries. Yet there is a hindrance. We may have left home, loved ones and jobs in following Jesus, but we haven’t necessarily surrendered our old, natural selves.
We are born again, made new creations in Christ. With joy in our hearts, we run the race and fight the battle. Yet it doesn’t take long before we face our inability to overcome sin in our own strength. We tell ourselves that if we just try a bit harder, all will be well. We pray – and then sin again. A temptation to question God and to doubt his promises rises. We consider what individual sins we may be guilty of. Instead, the root problem is our nature, which is unclean and set toward its own preservation and ends. What we need is deliverance from that nature.
Deal with the Self Life
An important lesson for every Christian is that, though we may be godly, sincere and earnest, the human nature (or self life) may still be strong within us. The apostle Peter is an example. As he served with Jesus for three years, he healed the sick, cast out demons and preached the kingdom of God. Yet the self life was still operating powerfully within him.
The self life is realized among Christians through self-comfort, self-consciousness, self-pleasing and self-will. But how do we get delivered from this self life? Again, we observed Peter. After his three denials of Jesus, the Lord looked directly at him. That pure and holy look was like a dagger in Peter’s heart. The realization of what he had done was driven home with authority. Peter wept bitterly. That night and the following day must have been horrendous for him as he saw Jesus crucified and buried and faced his own betrayal. That humiliating experience was the turning point for Peter, the moment he realized just how powerful the self life was within him – that he was capable of such actions. We want to allow the same realization to penetrate our hearts – that we are capable of such things. Then turn to Jesus, confessing specific areas of the self life and receive his deliverance by faith.
God is committed to crucifying our natural selves to fill us with the Holy Spirit, making us more like Jesus. The pain we experience because of others should not be wasted in God’s kingdom. We can use it to search our hearts for unconfessed pride. Instead of responding negatively to people, we resist pride and embrace Jesus’ humility. The degree to which out of our own hurt we respond in anger and bitterness to others (even when justified) is the degree to which pride and self are at work in us.
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