I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
From the time we are young, many of us are raised to advocate for our rights. Some toddlers stomp their feet on the floor in anger demanding their rights, teenagers are in a hurry to grow up so they can exercise their rights, and adults sue each other day and night as they advocate for their rights. Amid such a “rights leaning” culture, it can be challenging to remember that Christ has given believers another way; a heavenly example.
Paul reminds the Galatians, that he has been crucified with Christ. Paul has died with Christ and he no longer lives, but the life he has he lives by faith in the Son of God. Paul was willing to humble himself so that Christ would be glorified in his life. Even Jesus himself gave up his rights. Philippians 2: 5-6 encourages Christians to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage (a thing to be grasped,….) rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant….” If the apostle Paul, a servant of the Lord, and Jesus who is God were willing to humble themselves, how much more should we follow their example; we who have been washed in Christ’s blood and born of his Spirit? Through baptism, the old man in us dies and we are raised to new life, and through the infilling of his Spirit, God transforms and renews our minds.
In the midst of a world that may be constantly trying to pull you down, it can be challenging to practice humility, but ask God for grace to exercise it anyway, because God’s word is very clear. Luke 14:11 reminds us, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Are you dealing with a situation at home, at work or at church that has left you festering with anger? Do you feel as though your rights are being trampled on? Then do something counter-cultural, “humble yourself in the sight of the LORD that HE (not you, not your boss, not anyone else, but God) may lift you up (Luke 14: 10; Proverbs 25:7).” The world may ridicule you, but continue to persevere in prayer because your situation is within the jurisdiction of his care and power.
Loving God, I relinquish my rights. Give me grace to walk in genuine humility, not just today but every day. Give me strength to esteem others as better than myself. Fill me with your Spirit, that I might follow your example and bring you glory and honor in everything I do. Teach me how to seek your approval rather than the approval of man. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.