Humility, Humiliation, and the Spirit of God
Last night, I had a discussion with a student I'm investing in. This young man desires, some day, to be a preacher, and asks me many questions concerning what he reads. Yesterday, the subject came to washing feet. He read about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, and began by asking if we're supposed to literally wash feet, or serve people like we're washing feet, then it became a conversation about how the washing of feet was a servants job, and the disciples couldn't be bothered. Who was there to wash the feet? Jesus, the Lord and Master, the Son of God, the Creator of all things. He humiliated Himself to love and serve the disciples who followed Him, even Judas Iscariot, who would betray Him. Jesus also allowed Himself to be humiliated all the way to the cross: lied on, spit on, beat on, whipped and beaten beyond recognition, nailed to a tree, mocked, and murdered. What about the cross was not humiliating? Yet Jesus allowed it, endured it, and loved us unto His death.
So where does this leave us? I'll tell you what I told Him: if we're believers, no task is too great or too small, nor too high or too humiliating to love and serve others. In fact, we're called to love and serve, even should that mean we're to give our very lives for the Kingdom of Christ. Self-love, self-interest and self-preservation are the enemies of a Christ-like mind, getting in the way of the blessings in which Jesus calls us to live by and to give out. At times it's humiliating! Martyrs have been humiliated since the times of the prophets (read the books of the Kings or Jeremiah some time!), yet humbly they served God and others, and even rejoiced in their suffering and deaths. If we're not humbled, we may be humiliated. If we serve God, we may face humiliation at the hands of others, but our God can get us through it all, and may even bring some of our enemies with us! As with Jesus, humility and humiliation leads to God's glory, and so we must rejoice in all things.
2 Timothy 3: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.