I originally wrote this while in Bible college… and at a time when Deion Sanders & Jerry Rice were still playing pro football. Even given the fact that the opening illustration is dated, the message that we ought to be humble like Jesus is worth hearing again.
Since I am from Athens, Ga. Deion Sanders is a name that I am very familiar with, as I am sure that all of you are also familiar with him. Neon Deion as he has named himself is moderately good football player. The thing I have against Neon Deion is that he has a big mouth. Have you ever noticed? He is loud and obnoxious, more so than many other football players. Neon Deion lacks something that Jerry Rice possesses. Jerry Rice is a calm quiet individual who has a lot of skill and talent in the game of football. Almost the exact opposite of Neon Deion in the way he reacts to the plays he makes. He does not boast, brag or taunt others. He is humble. He knows that he can catch the ball well. He knows that he is arguably the best receiver that the game of football has ever seen. But he does not tell everyone he meets about his ability. He is a humble man.
Humility is the foremost character that we as Christians need to have. In order for us to be like Christ in all that we do we must be humble. What does it mean to be humble? How does a humble person act? First and foremost, a humble person is not proud. They are modest. Humble people usually do not want thanks for anything, and if they take thanks they direct the credit to God. The serve others. They put the well being of others before themselves. The have a servant’s heart. They are willing to be obedient to those who hold authority over them. Humble people are able to keep an accurate view of themselves; they know how to keep themselves in their right place and do not romanticize about whom or where they are. They do not think themselves higher than they are. Christ did this. He was humble and He called us to be humble also.
He became like us = humility in action. Christ knew how to be humble and He left an example for us. Jesus was God and all that entails. He was and is the very Image of God. Jesus told His disciples that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father. And in John the first chapter, John tells us that ‘..in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God..’ This means God and the Word, which is Jesus, are the same. Equal on all levels. Jesus had all the privileges that God had. But, He emptied Himself. He did not become any less God, He just laid aside some of His privileges that were His as God. No one is 100% sure what is meant by that but, suffice it to say He went through a dramatic change when He became a man. Paul tells us that Jesus took on the form of a bond-servant. The Greek word that is translated probably should be translated as slave. This helps to understand the dramatic change that took place as He humbled Himself and became a man. He went from the King of Kings to slave. He went from the Almighty Creator to the very creature that rebelled against Him. Christ became a servant to perform the Will of the Master. To put this into perspective, it would be similar to one of us becoming a slug.
And then He died on the cross. Some years ago a man named Martin Hengal wrote a book simply entitled Crucifixion. And in this book he details the horror on death by hanging on a cross. I recommend this book to every Christian, especially those who desire to be preachers. I want to call your attention back to the word doulou. I do this because crucifixion was the death penalty given to slaves. It was too cruel and inhumane for upstanding citizens. People like you and I did not even dare utter the word crucifixion, that is how dirty of a word it is. Christ humbled Himself to death even death on a cross; the most terrible, painful disgraceful, disgusting death man has ever thought up. He was obedient. That is why He did it. He was humble and His humility demanded that He die for us on that cross. You may recall Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not want o have to do it this way. I do not blame him. It is one thing to die for those who love you, but to die for the very people who were going to kill you. Nonetheless He was obedient to the Will of the Father. “Not My Will, but your will be done oh Lord.”
Become Like Him. That is our charge to become like Him. What happened to Him after His death? Christ was exalted and returned to His rightful place. Name above every name, and that every knee should bow and confess Jesus Christ is Lord! Amen!! He went form slave to the Master of all. He went form servant to King of Kings. We too can be exalted Like Christ. All we have to do is follow the example that He gave us. Become like Him, humble. Be humble and have all the same actions of humility that Christ had. Be obedient to the Father, be a servant to the Father and His flock. ‘Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord…. And He will lift you up.” James and Paul both relate this to us. If we humble ourselves before God, He will exalt us and give us eternity with Him. Yes it takes more to be saved than just humility, but that is the starting point. Where are you today? Are you on your knees awaiting the task that the Master has for you? Christ became like us, now it is our turn to become like Him.