Philippians 2: 9 -10

Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.

Verse eight of Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient even to the point of death. Therefore, God highly exalted Him. Jesus has been given the name which is above all names and the name to which every knee will bow.

Now as soon as some people read that, they chafed against those words. They may not admit it aloud, but they do not like the idea of bowing their knee to anyone. It is even hard to admit to oneself that the idea causes an internal tension. We really must allow ourselves to release our ego to our Father. It was this very thing that caused Jesus to be so highly exalted. He was able to humble himself to the point that His will no longer mattered. Obedience to the Father is all that really mattered. That is not to say that it is easy. It wasn’t even easy for Jesus, but we are able. Jesus fought the temptation to serve His own interest. We can and should do the same. Why? Because God would like also to exalt you.

And truly there is no joy greater than obeying the Father. I do not say that it is always easy, but I do say that there is great gratification in it. We often think that God is trying to get something from us, but it is just the opposite. He is trying to get something to us. If we will really learn humility; if we meditate on what it truly means to be humble and others centered, then we will find great revelation in the Father and in what He can do with us, and nothing is more fun than working with the Father. This week give time to the ideas of humility and obedience. Let yourself ponder what it means to be humble and ask the Father how you can be more obedient. I can promise you will have a very good week if you do.


Philippians 2: 8

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus took on the form of humanity so that He could lead us into true harmony with our Father God. He did not present Himself as a King or an honored person of any kind. He came as a servant to all.

I am moved by this image of Jesus as so humble and obedient that not even death, not even a horrible death, could sway Him from His committed passion for us and the Father. This is the image of a man who was not here to serve His own selfish interests but rather to pay the price of reconciliation so that the Father and His children could become one again.

If we are truly to imitate Christ, then our imitation must be foremost in humility and obedience. This idea is critically important for us to grasp. Our task isn’t about feeding the hungry or clothing the homeless. It is not about working at church or building a home for the needy. Those are the manifestations of our having gotten ourselves so right with God that we have absolutely learned to humble our needs and desires to the direction of God. Humility is all about getting us off of our minds. It is the call to put other people before your wants and even your needs. It is not about you! It is about Jesus. He has called us to himself that we might be His hands in this earth. But even more importantly, we are to be His heart in the earth.

We must learn radical obedience and honest humility. Let us give ourselves over to the Father completely. See what He can do with you. Let go of yourself and your own control. Let go of all that you are telling Him that you want and just ask Him what He wants. Ask Him to allow you a chance to be obedient. Give Him yourself, your dreams and desires. Then let Him fill you with all that He would do with you. Humble yourself to His great desire and gratefully obey.

Humility and Grace

Proverb 3: 34            The Voice

God treats the arrogant as they treat others, mocking the mockers, scorning the scornful, but He pours out His grace on the humble.

Yesterday’s proverb spoke about the arrogant person, that they stir up strife and that failure follows in their wake. Today we find this explanation. God abhors the arrogant. Wow! That is a bit frightening. He, Yahweh, scorns the scorners and mocks the mockers. Therefore, being scornful, arrogant or mocking others sets us up in opposition to God, a very frightening position to be in. If you look at the footnotes for this verse in the NLV Bible, you find the Greek version of this verse. It reads, “The Lord opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Grace is the unmerited favor of God. So, this verse reveals that God gives favor to the humble. Grace is that intangible blessing that follows you around making life click into place a bit better. God’s favor affects other people so that they see you and treat you as a VIP. Humility gives us what arrogance cannot. We can posture and act big trying to get people to treat us as important, but it is actually humility which yields that kind of favor. The minute we begin thinking or behaving as if we deserve it or that we really are special, it dissolves. A person can be humble at church and see the favor of God blessing them but act arrogantly at work and find that the grace just isn’t there.

Humility is not being a doormat for others. Sometimes we think it is. Humility is best understood in the scope of worthiness. In ourselves we were not worthy of God’s love or Jesus’ sacrifice, but Jesus has made us absolutely worthy, in him. We can be humble in our greatness because we know that it has nothing to do with our strength, skills or intelligence. Any gifts we have are from God. When we set our eyes upon Him and this truth, we can stand very tall in the fullness of God’s greatness understanding that we are here because Father decreed it and Jesus bought it. If your Father gives you a position, one you didn’t earn, you still get the position but perhaps you wouldn’t be so arrogant knowing that it is only by His grace that you stand in royal shoes.

God wants to shower His favor upon everyone. Truly, He wants everyone to be treated as someone special. We, however, either opt in or opt out of His plan. Interestingly, thinking we deserve it or that we are more special than others opts us out. Knowing that we are deserving as long as we stand in Jesus’ victory keeps us rooted. This is the great dichotomy which confuses so many. We are the unworthy worthy ones. We earned nothing, deserved nothing but as long as we are in Jesus – standing and abiding in him, we are kings. You have to know that you are deserving but humble because you know your worthiness is only in Jesus.

Arrogance is for the fool. The favor of God and man is for those who humbly receive all that God has for them.

The Test

Matthew 7: 16

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?

Jesus gave us the method by which we can know whom we can trust. We can know people by their fruit. We saw last week Paul’s elucidation of this principle. Colossians 3 shows the fruit of the chosen of God and also the habits and traits of those not reformed by Christ. Some of the traits Paul identified for Christians are: “a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other,” (Colossians 3: 12 – 13). In this list he also included the pursuit of unity (See the Word of the Day for 11/13/20).

Jesus’ teachings give us the principles. Paul’s teachings explain Jesus’ principles. He expounded on them to give further understanding. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul further described what the life of a Christian looks like. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” (Galatians 5: 22 – 24).

When I was practicing law I came to despise when a client offered that they were Christian. Why? Ask many business owners and you will get the same response. It is code language for, “I’m not going to pay you.” It is as though they offered that bit of information in order to cover a defect in their character. As I said last week, pretend I am from the Show Me state. Let your actions identify you as a Christian. As my friend, Robin, said yesterday, “Actions speak louder than words.” Anyone can say, “I am a Christian.” It is an entirely different matter to walk it out. Most people who wish to deceive and take advantage of others will not identify their motives. Instead, they will use some covering ploy and claiming to be a Christian is one of the best. So, how are we to know who is the real deal?

That is the purpose of this series of devotionals which began last week. I know who you are and how you strive to live in the light of Christ. I also know that you are the most vulnerable because you are attracted to people who self-identify as Christian. Now, you don’t have to take their word for it. Look at their lives. Are they givers? If no, then you needn’t ask any more questions. They are done because Yahweh and Jesus are mega-givers. You can’t be in them and be stingy. Beyond that run the test of Galatians 5 and Colossians 3. Here it is synthesized for you.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, a heart of compassion, humility, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other.

You might want to cut and paste this bit into your own document or print it. We are not asking people to be perfect, but we are looking for a pattern of behavior. I hope you identify with people who are patient and kind, gentle of speech and generous. We can encourage and expect these traits of people. We should, in fact, expect these kinds of behaviors. More than ever, we need to be considerate. We need to concern ourselves with the best interests of all people. We need to think of others instead of ourselves. That is the Christian mandate. It’s the Word. Let the Word prevail over the lives of us all.


Colossians 3: 12 – 14

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

We can keep this simple today. Earlier in the week we saw what Paul said we should not do as children of the King. We are being called to put off the old dead self and to take up the garment of a new life in Christ Jesus. That new life, well, it looks like this. We are going to loop back around to this idea next week, but I think it is obvious. Don’t tell me you are a Christian. Just pretend I am from Missouri, the “Show me” state. Show me.

These are the characteristics or behavior traits of a child of God. Do we show and act out of a heart of compassion? Are we kind? Where is humility in our words and actions? Am I gentle? Patient? Can I show tolerance to another and forgive anyone? It all boils down to love. If we are not those who act in accordance with and motivated by love, then we ought not be so bold in declaring ourselves Christians because this is how Christians behave. Unity isn’t just a cool idea. It is a mandate. We do not have a choice. But then, unity is simply a byproduct of love. If love is our motivator, then all of the traits in today’s verses are ours and increasing.

Require this of others. Require it of the church! Without love, we are not the beautiful church. Without laying down the old man and picking up the new life in Christ, we cannot follow in Christ’s footsteps. It is time we looked to ourselves and strengthened ourselves as a body in Christ. This is the path that Paul laid out for us. This is the way.

Help! I’m Dying

Romans 12: 2

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

What is a Christian? At one level it is a very easy question to answer. At another level, we believe there is more to being a Christian than merely our beliefs and our confession. I have heard more than one person say of another Christian, “He/she isn’t much of a Christian.” I think what people mean by this is that there are behavioral aspects that we expect of Christians and, unfortunately, sometimes we don’t measure up. Face it, we don’t even measure up to our own expectations. Changing our behaviors is difficult, but I have good news today. We have failed in changing ourselves because we have gone about it the wrong way, but we can alter our course and our method today.

Most of us first attempt to change through the force of our will. Willpower, though, can only get us so far. No, the way to go isn’t actually through changing our habits and behaviors at all. The successful path is through Romans 12: 2. It is not a matter of will but of transformation. It turns out that what makes a Christian is the surrender to transformation. It is humility. As we humble ourselves to the Lord Jesus, he is able to cause the caterpillar we are to transform into the butterfly we were created to be.

This level of humility, however, is not for cowards. It turns out that submitting our will to Jesus is one of the hardest things we will ever do. We don’t want to die to self. Our natural inclination is to elevate and promote self. When people talk of dying to self, if they have gone through the process themselves, they know that the word “die” is appropriate. It is a death and therefore not easy. This level of humility is not easy either. However, this is what it means to be a Christian. This is the crux of the Christian walk. It is when we set aside what we want for ourselves and our lives in favor of what Jesus commands.

How willing are you to be commanded by anyone? How easy, or difficult, is it for you to take orders or even direction? If we truly believe Jesus is Lord, then we are to obey him. That can be a tough pill to swallow. This is true Christianity. It is the death of me as an individual even as, in Jesus, I am resurrected in grace.

Humility is not a popular concept these days.  Nonetheless, let this be a call to radical humility in Christ Jesus who is Lord. Assist us Lord as we cry, “Help me Lord, I’m dying.” Show us your power in grace and mercy as we humble ourselves to your transformative process in our souls. Lead us in your way and show us your glory as we humbly submit to your divine makeover. Let your blanket of calming anointing settle on us as you bless us with your presence. Amen.

Healed and Whole

2 Chronicles 7: 14

If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When you read the verses which precede this one you understand that God is saying, “In your time of need, if you will call out to Me and seek Me then I will hear and restore you.” This verse comes from the point of need, the time of trouble, so the first point I would make is how much more does this apply when we don’t have our backs to the wall because of our sin, recklessness or error.

The major point, though, is that God is standing at the ready when we finally get around to calling on Him. One can see the situation unfold like this, we have run around doing our own thing, ignoring God and have not sought His counsel. The result is inevitable – trouble. All the while God was sitting on His phone watching and waiting for us to call. He says, “Look, if you will just inquire of Me, I will fix everything. I will lead you in the way you should go and I will repair the damage your ignorance created.” That is amazing to me. This is the exact opposite of the world which says, “You made the bed, now sleep in it,” which of course means, you made the mess so deal with it. God is ever ready to rescue us, even from the calamity of our own making. He actually wants to heal and restore you.

Let’s talk about “your land” for a moment. The verse refers to God healing His people’s land. The Bible is a historical record and a living document at the same time. Therefore, this verse represents not only God’s promise to Israel, which would have been the application at the time it was spoken, but it also applies to you and me through the living Word, Jesus our Messiah. You see, if it was just a dead letter, it would only show us His response to Israel. However, we know that Jesus is the Word (John 1: 1). He has breathed new life into the Old Testament for everyone who calls him Lord. That has got to make you want to shout! All those Old Testament promises, like the one from today’s verse are yours in Christ Jesus. Yea!

You are His people who are called by His name. That is the first element of this verse. What are the others? Humility, prayer, seeking and repentance. If we will humbly seek Him and pray, turning away from our ways, He will respond with all His grace and love to heal your world. Your land may be your home, your work, business, health, finances, family or any other area. It can also apply to the country you live in or are from.  They are all under God’s grace when you invite Him in through humility, seeking His face and His advice. Find that quiet space in your life and seek the Lord and His counsel. Be whole. Be blessed!