"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!"
"Balance" is a word that frequently finds its place in the margins of my Bible. I find peace in God's balanced approach to many things in the Bible, and humility is one that stands out most.
As a child, my understanding of humility was warped. Lessons of sacrificing myself for the sinful needs of another taught me that humility meant abandoning my self-worth anytime someone demanded satisfaction. For a long time, my self-worth was non-existent, and answering to the beck and call of others seemed normal.
But there came a time when I had to reclaim my self-worth. I hadn't been taught that my value cannot be given away or stole, so the only way I knew to regain my dignity was to fight for it. To scream out loud, "You don't get to do that to me anymore!" A cry of protection that often came across as arrogance.
It was Christ's balanced approach that taught me a new way. Throughout the Bible, Jesus, filled with the love of his Father, never doubted his status or standing before God or humanity. Fully aware of his divinity, he never felt the need to fight or claim everything he deserved as the Son of God. He knew the truth of his identity in his heart and he carried himself accordingly. Although he wouldn't bow down to the wayward ways of religious leaders, he willingly sacrificed his life to save those who put their faith in him - those who needed the purpose he was sent to fulfill on earth.
Striking the balance between self-worth and sacrificial service can be tricky. It begins with our understanding that Jesus has already paid the price of death that allows us to stand before God blameless and holy. We owe our immeasurable value to the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Continuously humbling ourselves before God in gratitude and worship reminds us of all that Jesus has gifted us.
As we learn to carry the truth of our identity in our hearts, we too will willing sacrifice our time, talent, and treasure for the benefit of another. Just like Jesus, our sacrificial service will never destroy us, as we too have been granted the gift of eternal life.
How do you balance self-worth and humility in your life?