Devotion: In Christ Alone – Humility

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 2:3-11)

Selfies are all the rage. How many have you taken? How many are you in? How many have you posted on social media websites? Truth is, most of us have taken a selfie or two with our smartphone.

Why do we take photos of ourselves? I would guess that most of us like to see ourselves in pictures or just like to share who we are with or where we are. It seems innocent enough. And, it’s not just smartphones that allow us to take selfies; digital cameras and video cameras have provided this capability for some time now. In fact, the tendency for human beings to focus on ourselves has been around since Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden!

When we focus on ourselves, our eyes are looking inward. When we are tuned in to yours truly, we miss what is going on beyond self. Since our focus is on us, we don’t see others or their needs. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul turns this inward focus upside down. Even though he is in prison, his eyes are not on his situation but on serving others: “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 made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:3b-7).

Instead of self-focus, Paul points directly to Jesus and His humility shown to us on the cross: “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:8). Jesus Christ gave His life that you and I would have life. So God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name—Jesus, for He saves His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21)—that at His name, “every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.” Let us be humbled before this great name, to confess our sins and be forgiven, and also, being renewed in His mind, to give our lives for our neighbors—especially to lead them to confess with us that this Jesus Christ is Lord.

Reflect: How is my focus turning inward right now? What has Christ done for me, to make me look at Him? Looking to Him, what can I do this week to serve my neighbors?

Jesus, turn my eyes toward You to see how You became obedient to the death of the cross to give me true life by the forgiveness of my sins, how You have redeemed me to be Your own. Help me to see Your face and boldly confess Your name to others. Help me to see the needs of others and serve them willingly and lovingly. In Your name I pray, Amen!

Published July 18, 2016

About the author

Brent Howard has 20 years of youth ministry experience and currently leads the Children's & Youth Ministry team at Christ Lutheran in Overland Park, Kansas. His passion is investing in the lives of children, youth and their families, especially his own. You'll find Brent serving, leading, learning, coaching and playing.
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