September 11, 2008

Joy in Humility

Philippians 2:1-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better …
Philippians 2:3


Hollywood shows like Top Model, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars are tuned in to people’s desire to be important. Yet words like “top,” “idol,” and “star” do not describe the joyful Christian’s life. What is more important? To be a celebrity or to imitate Christ?

Genuine joy is expressed in Christlike humility. It’s disturbing, however, when people twist truth, betray trust, and sacrifice the joy of community on the altar of selfish ambition. Humility is difficult, but practicing vain conceit (selfish pride) sows seeds of death in the midst of life. Conceit started with Adam and Eve, and the same bad fruit is still being harvested today.

Why do we tend to measure self-worth against the perceived success or failures of others? Is it because we think life’s ultimate goal is personal fulfillment or that living life at another’s expense will stir feelings of joy?

Humility is different. It discovers self-worth in God’s grace for us all, not in the standards of human achievement. Genuine humility finds life’s true value in helping God’s joy penetrate every heart regardless of circumstance or character.

Isn’t that why Jesus “made himself nothing,” “humbled himself,” and became a servant?

Does your life sow seeds of death or joy? That’s the difference between conceit and humility.

Dear Lord, I praise you that human dignity is a gift of your grace. Protect me from pride and make me like Christ so that I will sow the seeds of your joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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