If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11
I believe this to be one of the most beautiful passages of scripture. If ever there was a guidebook for what it means to be humble, this is it.
It may also, however, be one of the most ignored passages of scripture. The name of Jesus these days seems to be used as a battle cry in fights over guns and election results.
That Jesus is seen as someone leading a parade of armed insurrectionists, ready to move an idea of Christianity into the the role of the most powerful religion around. That Jesus is seen as a warrior, ready to fight to the death those who disagree with us. That Jesus flies whatever flag we choose to give him.
But Paul reminds us who Jesus truly is: one who elected to be humble. One who put aside his equality with God - emptied himself of all the glory - to become a flesh and blood person just like us: one who was vulnerable, just like us.
That Jesus did not exploit, but gave into the very worst humans could offer him.
That Jesus died rather than bring about the death of others.
And yes, that humble Jesus is the one we bow to. The one we exalt. The one we praise.
Not because he is powerful and violent and angry.
But because he willingly humbled himself for the sake not just of us, but of the whole world.
Holy God, move me toward justice, mercy, and humility in all my dealings with your people. Amen