We’ve been getting into this series, Waking Up to The Good vs. Evil Plot over the last few weeks. With heart-wrenching wars in the Middle East and little children on the verge of death from starvation, there is a challenge to step into the larger picture, one which transcends our own time and space as it shouts a battle-cry in the name of all things good.
(This would be a perfect moment to LOUDLY SHOUT YOUR BATTLE CRY!)
If you are like me, you want to rise out of the everyday humdrum of life, to live for something meaningful and fight for something great. But how do we make a difference? Or more specifically, what characteristics to effective world changers have?
To answer this question, last week we began looking at the life of one of the greatest world changers throughout history, Jesus. He overcame some of the hindrances we have–like not seeing the bigger picture and not believing we can actually make a difference–by embodying humility and knowing his worth.
If you want to embrace the reality that there is more going on than meets the eye, that you are called to something bigger than yourself, and if you want to stand up to take your place on this battlefield in the war against good and evil–embracing humility is essential.
Be Humble. Period.
Embracing humility is a pretty tough challenge. Do-gooders, desiring influence, seem to have a particularly tough time keeping pride from climbing on its high horse and placing itself at the helm in non-profits, churches, whole cities, and otherwise in the front and center of all things good. I know embracing humility is a constant struggle for me, and I’m sure the tension warring within me isn’t unique to just me. (Right? Please tell me this isn’t just me!)
Okay, be humble–fine, no question about it. But how? First, we must recognize we aren’t as big and awesome as we think we are within the context of humanity. Because of that, we realize we aren’t worth our continual self-gratification. Then we agree that as the world and history do not revolve around us, neither should we.
Still, that nice explanation isn’t just going to translate from our minds into our reality. Because that instead is reality, I think it is worth examining a great example of humility.
Jesus, the Humble God-Man
I know that not all of you consider Jesus the power of life itself, but rather just a historical figure that influenced the world and who is surrounded by myth. Regardless of what you believe, if you study his story you can see he embraced humility like no other. He left behind a global ripple that is still, well, rippling.
So what was his story? Jesus claimed to be one with the ultimate God, but humbled himself by taking human form with one motivation–to love “those in need of a doctor” as he described it. He chose to be a baby and get his diaper changed, chose to live in poverty, willingly submitted to flawed human authority, and willingly let himself be brutally murdered (despite the swords and angels at his disposal).
This short section, Philippians 2:1-16, nicely sums up the humility of Jesus. Yet to really grasp how he lived that out, the books in the Bible of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John consistently chronicle his intentional humility.
If fact, Jesus didn’t just live it, but he actively taught his followers to mirror his example of purposefully becoming “the least” in order to lead, love, and change the world. He demonstrated by doing the tasks of servants, touching the severely contagious and spending his time with those whom their culture considered less-than and should be shunned. Even though many of Jesus’ followers were on the lowest rung on the totem pole themselves, Jesus reprimanded them to stop acting so entitled, prideful, and challenged them to stop perpetuating the culture’s ideas of who was worthy or respect.
I think it would be pointless for me to copy and past every part of this character’s narrative into this blog post, so if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you check it out. Jesus’ story of God becoming man it is one heck of an example of humility within the context of a world-changing perspective. I feel like his humility is so ridiculous that there just must be something to it.
Next Steps To Help You Embrace Humility
The Humility Mantra
Sometimes, to help myself fall off my high-horse and grasp how little I am, I repeat this mantra:
“I am one of seven billion people. I am but one of many. Just one of many.”
And now, studying ancient civilizations with my kids for school, I am adding to this:
“I am just one of seven billion just within this generation alone. So I am one of even MORE people, throughout time, throughout the hundreds of self-important world-class kingdoms that risen and fallen throughout history.”
In addition, I am just one person among many who have similar combinations of gifts, talents and skills. My suffering isn’t unique either. And heck, I am one of countless bloggers, and definitely not a famous one!
Not surprisingly, this “one of many” mantra puts me in my place.
I’m not saying that I am not unique or valuable, because I am. But it does force me to recognize that if my story is going to have any meaning, it must be in a much larger context than simply me, I who will fade like a flower and become dust.
How Does Embracing Humility Change the World?
Great question! Check out the following 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 ways I’ve seen how choosing humility can make a difference:
1.) When the story becomes so much bigger than us, we become so much more willing to sacrificing to achieve the worth-while ending. We are okay with becoming a player in the good vs. evil story rather than being the story.
2.) We begin to think that that person on the other side of the globe is just as important and has just as much value as we do.
3.) We start considering that the person we hate listening to gripe might be worth showing empathy to. Not because we agree with them, but because we realize we aren’t any better than them–we are equals. (Come on now, I know we might not feel that way. But it’s truth.)
4.) We recognize that we didn’t choose to be born in one of the most freedom-allowing and richest nations on earth. The result is that we stop acting so spoiled, entitled and snobbish.
5.) We stop believing the lie that others always have a choice to change their situations, such as those born into bondage slavery or extreme poverty. And then we stop ignoring our fellow human beings.
Those above reasons are pretty compelling, and I am sure I am missing many more awesome effects of embracing humility!
Seeing our position accurately within the grand perspective, within that bigger good vs. evil story, translates into willingness to sacrifice and lay ourselves down for others. That was how Jesus ultimately made history, by his willingness to sacrifice, dying so others could find hope.
Like Jesus, when we are humble we start valuing, caring for, and actually loving others. We become lesser so others become bigger.
So decide to recognize that you are “one of many.” Embrace it, and then choose humility, so that together we can change the world.
“Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3b-4
- Next week we are going to focus on the flip-side: seeing our inherent value. Let’s continue to explore Jesus’ narrative as an example as we perfect the art of being an advocate.
- Please continue following this series, Waking Up to the Good vs. Evil Plot, by following Average Advocate via email (optin below), Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t miss it!