Lead Role: Jesus

by Carolyn Hope

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12)

Have you ever seen a play or movie in which the main character doesn’t have any lines? Yet this is what we find in the Nativity. Jesus is the star, the main event, the reason for the season. Throughout this story, however, he never says a word. Amazing.

We tend to treat Mary as the main character, or perhaps Joseph, or the wise men, or the shepherds. The truth is, Jesus is the one the story’s all about. In his sweet way, he quietly appears and doesn’t promote himself or draw attention to himself. He just is … and that is enough.

The greatest part of this story is the moment that Jesus is born. It’s what everyone’s been waiting for, eagerly anticipating, dreaming for, and hoping for. And when he is born … well, he’s born. The attendees to his birth are some dirty animals, some hay and straw, and a few rag-tag shepherd boys. When you think about it, it’s not what we would consider special. It’s not the type of phenomenal entrance that we would imagine. Still, it was supernatural. It was holy. It was beautiful. Jesus came, and He was. It’s simply astonishing.

That God would come down to earth as a human, and the weakest kind of humanity at that. That He would take on the position of a helpless baby. Protector and Provider humbled Himself to be protected and provided for. He could have come with an army of angels, descending from the clouds on a white horse, sword in hand and a crown on his head. He could have come as a fearsome, warrior king. That’s certainly what everyone expected. No. No, he came the way the rest of us come. We enter this world cold, naked, and more vulnerable than any other creature. Jesus did too. What a beautiful heart He has!

Jesus saw no need to seek attention. His humility shone brighter than the most glorious, majestic arrival we could imagine. I want to encourage you that there is great power in simple humility. Be who you are. You don’t have to promote yourself. There is no need for you to seek attention or affection. You don’t have to make everything work. Your responsibility is to be who the Lord made you to be and to do what He has told you to do. That’s it. Humble yourself, dear one, and your King will lift you up (see James 4:10 and 1 Peter 5:6). Be who you are; that is enough.

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The Humility of a Savior: Selflessness

by Carolyn Hope

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross …” (Philippians 2:3-8)

Perhaps the strongest facet of humility is selflessness. Humility is not thinking little of yourself; it is, however, thinking greater of others. Jesus exemplified this when He forsook His place in heaven to become a servant for all mankind. He cared much more for humanity than He did for His position. He made Himself nothing, that we might have everything. Jesus’ humility led Him in obedience, even to the cross.

Take a second and think of the power that comes from selfless humility. Jesus’ sacrifice resulted in your salvation! That would not have happened without humility. It was the humility of God’s heart that said, “I’m willing to pay whatever it takes if it means people can be set free.” You are a living, breathing product of the greatest humility the world has ever seen.

What can your humility do for others? What kind of effect can your sacrifice have? I believe that selfless humility can change hearts and lives, and even the world. If you want to do something great, go low. Serve your family, your friends, and your coworkers. Humble yourself in selflessness toward them, and see what happens. There’s no limit to what two humble hearts can do. When you join your humble heart to God’s, nothing is impossible.

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The Humility of a Visionary: Honor

by Carolyn Hope

“The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), ‘Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?’ Daniel replied, ‘No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries … The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.” (Daniel 2:26-28, 47-48)

Daniel is known as a man who was both wise and prophetic. He served under several kings and was one of their top advisors and most trusted counselors. Daniel was a governor, a supporter, and a ruler; he was also a man of humility.

In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, and he demanded that his wise men tell him what the dream was, and then interpret it. He put an impossible task on these men, and when they could not fulfill it, he decided to kill all of them. Daniel heard about this situation, and he asked for time. When his request was granted, he sought the Lord for revelation, urging his friends to do the same. God faithfully answered their prayers, and Daniel went to the king and gave him the dream and interpretation. Throughout the whole process, Daniel showed himself humble through the honor he gave to the Lord (and to the king). He never once took any credit for what God had done but made it very clear that only He could reveal mysteries. Daniel’s strong honor for the Lord led the king to also show God honor.

Humility always honors others. To honor is to elevate someone and put him in his rightful place. Humility lifts others up to where they should be. One of the ways you can be humble is by honoring those around you. Instead of taking the best seat at the dinner table or movie theater, give that spot to someone else. Hold the door for the person behind you. Do small things to show others that you value them. The best way to honor others is to first honor the Lord. Keep Jesus on the throne of your heart, and you’ll be better able to honor people.

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The Humility of a Prophet: Clarity

by Carolyn Hope

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple … one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ He said, ‘Go…’” (Isaiah 6:1, 6-9)

When Isaiah saw the Lord in all His glory, he was acutely aware of his unworthiness. Then a seraph brought a coal from the altar to cleanse him of his guilt and sin. A few moments later, the Lord sent out a call, and the new transformed Isaiah answered it with a willing and obedient heart.

The key to Isaiah’s humility was clarity. He said he saw the Lord. When the seraph touched the coal to Isaiah’s lips, he said, “See …” There is something significant about spiritual sight. The starting point for humility is simple: clarity! Humility is not shame, nor is it feelings of unworthiness. Rather, humility is having an accurate view – a God kind of view – of yourself and the world around you. Humility begins with a prayer that says, “Lord, open my eyes to see. Show me the truth. What do You see?”

Don’t be afraid to ask God what He sees. It’s so much greater and more beautiful than we think. God does not look at you as a worthless, dirty sinner. He paid the highest price for you to become His child, and He views you as the royalty you are. Ask Jesus what He sees. He’ll show you, and when He does, you’ll step into a deeper freedom than you’ve ever known. Let the Truth set you free.

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The Humility of a Queen: Vulnerability

by Carolyn Hope

“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’ So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. Then the king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.’ ‘If it pleases the king,’ replied Esther, ‘let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.’” (Esther 4:15-5:4)

Esther was the Queen of the Persian Empire. She was over many servants and eunuchs, and she was given honor, prestige, and position. She was also a Jew. When her people’s lives were threatened, she had two options: to remain caught up in her own safe and protected world or to step out into danger for the sake of her kin. Esther chose to be brave and courageous, and she has been esteemed for that. There was another choice Esther made, however, and that was humility. She humbled herself by being vulnerable. Esther, a woman of greatness and strength, lowered herself before her king in surrender. She could have been killed for entering the court without an invitation; she went anyway. She was willing to be sacrificed so that her nation might be spared. She exposed herself to potential danger, and she purposefully put herself in a helpless position, in order that others may be helped.

Humility is vulnerable. Vulnerability is something that we often avoid, but within it is a hidden strength. We spend so much time trying to hide our hearts that we miss the power of sharing who we truly are with others. I think the reason we won’t be vulnerable with people, even those we’re close to, is that we’re afraid they might reject us if they see who we really are. Vulnerability exposes the depths of our hearts, and indeed, people don’t appreciate them and protect them as they should; but Jesus does. Start by being open and free with Him, and giving yourself to others will get easier. You can trust Jesus with your dreams, your hurts, and the secrets you try to hide. He will not reject you.

God greatly appreciates and understands vulnerability. He won’t ever turn you away when you bring your heart before Him. He cherishes the depths of who you are. He delights in you. Let Him into your heart today; He has already let you into His.

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The Humility of a Dreamer: Honesty

by Carolyn Hope

“So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’ ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’ … Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” (Genesis 41:14-16, 39-40)

Joseph had many reasons to be prideful. His dreams as a young man spoke of his mighty destiny and beautiful potential. His talent for organizing and superb management skills made him a favorite worker in Potiphar’s household. He was young and handsome, and everything he put his hand to prospered. Perhaps there was a time in Joseph’s life when he did indeed take pride in his accomplishments. In this part of his story, however, we see a deep humility exhibited through simple honesty. Joseph was quick to admit that he could not do what he was asked apart from God’s help. When giving the interpretation of the dream, he held nothing back from Pharaoh but gave him all the information he needed. He even presented a plan to alleviate the coming famine. As a response to Joseph’s service, Pharaoh appointed him as second-in-command over all of Egypt. Joseph’s honest humility led him to the position of influence he was destined for.

Humility is honest. It’s real and authentic. Humble people aren’t afraid to speak the truth, even when it’s not so flattering. If you want to become humble, start by being honest. When you need help, say so. When you’re having a rough day, don’t try to hide it and pretend everything’s ‘fine.’ Own up to your mistakes and call things as they are.

When you stop trying to cover your imperfections, humility has room to work in your heart. Sometimes, choosing to be humble is like taking a bitter pill; it’s hard to swallow, but it’s beneficial for you and for those around you. I challenge you to be honest today; not just about the big important matters, but the little, seemingly meaningless affairs too. Humility is worth it.

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Choosing Humility

by Carolyn Hope

What is humility? That’s not an easy question to answer. Humility has many sides or faces. It’s like a crystal with several different angles.

There are lots of misconceptions about humility. Humility is not shyness. It’s not the inability to receive a compliment. Neither is humility thinking of yourself as nothing or considering yourself worthless. Humility is not weak or insecure. Sometimes, we tie humility to a specific personality or certain acts that seem spiritual; but that’s not the case.

The truth is that humility is a choice, and it’s one that anyone can make. With that said, there are many facets to this principle. This week, I’d like to highlight a few of those: honesty, vulnerability, clarity, and others. It’s my hope that as you read these descriptions of humility, you’ll be encouraged to become more like Jesus in this way. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, you can follow in the footsteps of those in the Bible who chose humility.

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