Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. –Philippians 2:3-4

Humility does not come naturally to human beings. We are so used to looking out for ourselves, so inclined to view life with the lens of What’s in it for me?  We are programmed go for the best, to do the best, to BE the best—and if we’re not careful, anyone who cannot reach our level of capability or status or achievement will simply fall through the cracks of importance and be regarded as inferior.

This sets the stage for our own destruction because “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

I believe one safeguard against this kind of thinking is to embrace Jesus’ heart for others. This can only be done when we allow Him to change our own selfish hearts, transforming us to be like Him.

In Philippians 2, we find a picture of the humble Jesus. Paul says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

When we think about it, Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords—infinitely exalted as God in capability, status, achievement, riches, power, and dominion— did not have to take our weak, human forms and be born in a manger, dishonored by mankind, insulted, whipped, and crucified. But He allowed these things to be done to Him. He chose to take on our shame. He chose to because He loved us. Wanted us. identified with us. Embraced us. Redeemed us so we could be called His family and co-heirs with Him in His Father’s Kingdom. Gave us a seat in the heavenly places with Him. He put our lives and our freedom on a higher level than His own survival and comfort.

This is true humility. This is how it is demonstrated: when we lift up those who are not our equals and view them as more important than ourselves, our schedules, our achievements, our capabilities, our survival, and our comfort. True humility is when we allow for love to establish the identity and dignity of those around us as persons worthy to be cherished and loved. This was the example of Christ for us. And this is the example that we must follow.

As we reflect on this kind of humility, may this simple song resonate in our hearts as a prayer:

Make me a servant
Humble and meek
Lord, let me lift up those who are weak
And may the prayers of my heart always be
Make me a servant
Make me a servant
Make me a servant today
–Kelly Willard