Humility, Part One: Just Do It!
If you live on this planet, you are familiar with the Nike slogan and their iconic Swoosh.
It’s 30 years old. The slogan itself has quite a history, but at its core it has a simple message of action. Not words—action.
In a world that is constantly saturated with information, action is appealing. I want to suggest that you and I probably don’t need more words about why we should be men and women of humility—we need to just do it.
This brings to us a fundamental question about how you and I go about transforming and conforming ourselves to the Word of God. I don’t know about you, but I somehow fall into the trap of thinking that I can think myself into better behavior... some flawed notion that if I could better understand the why behind the what, then doing the what would somehow be as easy as falling off a horse. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.
As I set and ponder Philippians 2:1-5, action—focused action—is what is emerging.
Consider the strength of the language. There is repetition to drive home the point. If there is any: any encouragement, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, then… in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Beyond repetition, there is an argument being mounted to move us to action—it revolves around the word and idea of any. If there is “any” might be read as if there is even the smallest amount of just one of these great things, then… in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Remarkable. We are not reading, “When you find that the comfort you are receiving from love reaches 100%”, or , “When you feel complete sympathy”, etc. Quite the opposite.
Paul, who has been encouraging the Philippians, is saying, just do it.
He makes it clear to have the mind of Christ. When we do we show ourselves as people being in one accord. We are not operating out of personal motives, or even pride. No, we are operating with each other in humility, counting others as more significant that ourselves.
Humility is huge. We know this fact.
Let’s turn, for a moment, and consider the local situation. Acts 16 tells the story of the founding of the church in Philippi. From the onset, it was diverse. In this city, and in the Roman world, the class system was alive and well. You did not cross the lines of your social class. However, in the early church there was no longer slave, nor free—all are one in Christ.
Picture the scene. Rich and poor, slave and free, merchants and military—all just doing it—treating each other as more important than themselves as they live for Christ.
Let’s move back to the present. Today, my perception is that we consider ourselves much more enlightened about all the forms of inequality. Most of us would say that we don’t consider ourselves more important than the person next to us…that is what we would say.
Beyond our personal opinion of ourselves, if you live in the USA, or other similar democracies, there is a strong desire to eradicate all forms of discrimination. We seek new and stronger laws. We wrestle with how to influence other countries who do not share our views. (Not to go off on a tangent, but that principal/value comes from Genesis 1.)
The root problem is pride. It cannot be eradicated by external law.
Philippians 2:1-5 reveals the how—it says just do it.
Challenging! There is an old saying which says God’s Word is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. It would be naïve and wrong to think my pride has been eradicated. Humility must constantly be put into practice during the moments of the day.
I have “put into practice” in the above sentence in bold because God’s Word today says just start serving others.
God’s Word suggests that it is time to stop talking, and simply do it—practice humility.