In my time of solitude lately I have been reminded that the first demonstration of our Master Jesus’ character was humility. Philippians puts it like this “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.” Phil. 2:5-8a
He who created and had everything chooses to find himself lying in straw as a helpless newborn, surrounded by the aromas of barnyard animals keeping Him warm by their very breath.
Do you think it is even possible to truly understand the depth of humility in this reality given the mind and heart numbing distractions of the 21st Century? I believe it is almost impossible but worth our attempt if we are ever going to realize what all of us desire and need for our life to truly be abundant!
What is it that we desire? JOY! Have you ever considered how humility drives joy? How a lack of humility stifles the joy we seek? Joy is defined as a pervasive sense of well being regardless of our circumstances. It is not to be confused with happiness which is appropriately influenced by circumstances. Joy is an internal state of being driven by our apprenticeship with Christ. Joy is influenced by humility as a function of our contentment in life again regardless of circumstances.
Ah, contentment, how elusive a state of being for humanity today. We are relentlessly bombarded with external ways to achieve a contented state. So why are we such a restless, arrogant bunch? It is certainly not because of a lack of resources the culture can provide. It is because they have no lasting value. Sadly these days these external feel goodies even reach into the church.
I was thinking the other day about how the more appropriate things we love(let alone the illicit and destructive items) in the list of this content giving external commodities and feel goodies run out. From gas in our tank, to battery power in all our hi-tech devices, to comfort foods we all consume way too much. They all need to be refilled for our happiness to be restored.
But joy the source of true contentment that is driven by humility once achieved never needs to be refilled.
Why? Because of the source- The Master Jesus! He is ONLY way for us to be humble, finding joy and experiencing a life of contentment regardless of circumstances.
Remember this: “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:7-15
This is precisely how it goes for us today. We have to keep coming back to some external “well” to be content to achieve a fleeting comfort. But the Samaritan woman gets it- JESUS! GIVE ME THE WATER SO I WON’T HAVE TO KEEP COMING BACK!
That should be our prayer prostate before our loving Lord, Savior, Teacher and Master every day! But then after this prayer we all MUST put a little skin in the game, actually a whole lotta skin- our entire self. That is where the process breaks down. A little skin in the game involves intent and means which involves energy and commitment and trust in Jesus for everything in life and godliness. This breaks down because the culture is a better teacher than the church these days. They entice us with the fact that we can know and we can experience what they are pedaling for happiness and contentment but we must keep coming back for it will RUN OUT!
Conversely the church stays away from knowing and experiencing to the demise of any influence of those who are assembling. Teaching about how we know and experience Jesus today, i.e. how we can have an encounter with Him by the well is all but absent today in our churches.
We know and experience God today by being with Him and we CAN be with Him 24/7- the Trinitarian presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit through the means of the spiritual disciplines. Solitude, Silence, Study, Prayer, Meditation, Fasting, Submission, Sacrifice, etc. Teaching and giving those assembled the opportunities to know and experience Christ today is a MUST if we are to take on the humble attitude necessary for our joy and contentment. The sheep are straying in the meadows of our culture in search of joy and contentment when they should be finding the source in their local pen through teaching and experiences that embolden the reality that you can “know” and “experience” humility, joy and contentment today through a vibrant, intimate and constant Trinitarian presence.
As we grow in ever deepening communion with Christ, we will find our needs for comfort, approval, even life itself are met as we exalt and depend on Christ and His character flows out from us in humility.
May you have a joyful, content and humble Christmas this year through knowing Christ.