December 2014

HE HUMBLED HIMSELF

Zac Poonen

He came with real humility, making Himself one with us in every way.

The first thing that we see in the life of Jesus Christ when He lived on this earth is His deep humility.

Man is basically proud. We're proud of many things. We are proud of our race, upbringing, and our family tree perhaps. We can be proud of our education, good looks, intelligence, capabilities, talents, gifts, position, influential friends, maybe our house or car, or it could be anything. But when Jesus came to earth, He took the lowest place that any man could ever take. He came as a servant of everyone. Even though He was God, He was God manifest in human form. That's where we see the greatness of our God.

God’s Greatness
We can see the greatness of God in creation. The stars, the planets, the snowflakes, the little atoms which eye can’t even see, and so many wonderful things—all these things contain the wonder of God. But to the one who reads the Scriptures, to the true disciples of Jesus Christ, the greatness of God is not seen in these wonders of the universe. It is seen in the humility with which He came to earth in human form, emptying Himself of the privileges and powers that He had as God and identifying with our fallen race.

The Bible says in John 1:14, “The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And that glory, we can say, was far greater than the glory seen in the creation of the sun, moon and stars. God came and dwelt on earth as one of us. And He didn't come in a condescending, patronising way as our benefactor, nor showing that He was a great person, but humbling Himself to be with us. He came with real humility, making Himself one with us in every way. He was made like His brothers in all things. And once we see this glory of Jesus’ humility, we would see there is far greater glory in that than even in the wonderful miracles that He did when He was on the earth. And here is the first area that we need to see how God wants man to live.

In the life of Jesus, we have an example. God has given us an example on how He wants man to live. There was not an atom of pride in our Lord Jesus Christ. He never imposed Himself on people. He never made people dread Him as if He was somebody far superior to them, even though He was far superior. He was also their Creator, Almighty God. But He hid all that glory. It was all concealed in that flesh in which He came. And He lived just like any other ordinary man. He would call Himself the Son of man, meaning, “I'm just an ordinary man.” And there we see the greatness of God. God wants man to live in humility.

God Resists The Proud
Because Lucifer was perfect in wisdom and beauty, he began to be proud of it, and he sought to go still further up and even exult himself above God Almighty. And as soon as such a thought entered into Satan's heart, God immediately cast him down. God is always against pride, wherever He finds it.

The Bible says God resists the proud. If you're a proud person, (it doesn't matter what you're proud of) you'll find that God is resisting you all the time. ‘Resist’ is the opposite of ‘support’. God does not support proud people – He resists them, He fights against them. And that's why Satan was cast out. There could be no pride in heaven. And when Satan was cast down and man was created, Satan decided to infect man as well with the same pride with which he was infected. Now the human race is infected with Satan’s pride.

The Mind Of Christ
Every child born into this world was born with this infection of pride, and that's why he fights to assert himself and seek his own. To save man from this wretched pride, Jesus came and humbled Himself to redeem man from this poison. So, just like our sin originated in the pride of Lucifer, redemption originated in the self-humbling of Jesus Christ. These are two completely different spirits operating in the world. There's the spirit of pride, always seeking to exult itself, push other people down, show that we are greater. And then there's the spirit of humility of Jesus, always seeking to go down. It's very easy for you to know how much of the mind of Christ you have in your own life. You have as much of the mind of Christ in you, as you have of His humility. That is the infallible gauge of spiritual growth. You're growing spiritually if you're growing in humility. That's all. No more than that. Not when you grow in Bible knowledge. A lot of people think that spiritual growth means, "I'm growing in the knowledge of the Bible", “I'm growing in usefulness, I'm growing in serving God here, there and everywhere.” Well, that's not really the infallible gauge. You can be mistaken.

There's a lot of people who are serving, but they are not really growing. They're more active, but they are not really growing spiritually. One who is growing spiritually will always become more and more humble.

When you look at Jesus, the very fact that He came down from heaven to earth (God becoming man) itself would be a tremendous demonstration of humility, but He didn't stop there. When He became a man, He refused to be a king. Now if Jesus had come from heaven and become the greatest king on earth, that would still have been humility, because it would have been a tremendous step down from God to become a king. But the wonderful thing you see here is, He went still further – He refused to be a king. Once, when people tried to crown Him He just ran away. When He became a man He humbled Himself and became a servant of everyone. He became like a slave.

Jesus often used to tell His disciples, "I didn't come here for you people to serve Me; I came to serve you." God's nature is to serve and help and bless other people, and the more you have of God's nature in you, the more you will seek to serve, bless, and help other people. You will not seek to promote yourself and show yourself as great. Unfortunately, even among those who call themselves Christians and Christian leaders one finds very often a spirit of self-exultation. That's so contrary to the spirit of Christ. Jesus never exulted Himself. He told His disciples not to use titles; He said you must be just like brothers, just like all the others. We are here to serve one another.

Jesus demonstrated by His life that a person's position, wealth, accomplishments and family status have no value. It's humility alone that determines your value in God's eyes primarily. You and I never had a choice as to which family we should be born into in this world. You could say it was accidental, completely beyond your choice. I was born into a family which I never chose. You were born into a family which you never chose. We were just born into it. We were born in a country which we didn't choose, into circumstances we didn't choose. There was only one person born into this world who could choose and determine beforehand where he would be born, when he would be born, in which family he would be born. That person was Jesus Christ. And what does Jesus choose? He chooses a poor, unknown carpenter's family, in a place called Nazareth, which had a very bad reputation in Israel, and it was a very poor family.

Jesus was the only person who could determine where exactly He was going to be born. And what place does he choose? The stable, a lowly stable where donkeys and cows were moving around, a dirty place. And when you read in Matthew chapter 1, you read the family line. People are proud of their family line. He chose a family line of a woman called Tamar who committed adultery with her father-in-law. Another one in that family tree was Rahab who was a prostitute in Jericho. Another one was Ruth who was a descendant of Moab who was born as the result of incest (Gen.19). This is the line which Jesus chose. Why did Jesus choose this type of humiliating line and a lowly place to be born? Because He wanted to come underneath all of us to serve us. Remember, dear friend, this is the nature God wants you to have: to go underneath others to serve them and bless them.

Editorial: A CHILD IS BORN - Jacob Ninan

HE HUMBLED HIMSELF - Zac Poonen

BATTLING GOLIATHS - Paul H. Jeyasingh.

HEALING OF THE MIND - Jacob Ninan.

JUST AS I AM - M. J. Jacob.

OUR ATTITUDE TO WORSHIP - Vivek Salins.

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