Anyone that knows me is aware of the fact that despite having never attending the University of Florida, I’m probably the biggest Florida Gator fan. In-fact, Florida was the ONLY school I didn’t get into.
If you call my cell phone, you’ll get an earful of the school’s fight song. I am the mayor of the South Bay Gator Club on Foursquare, where I am for every Saturday Game to cheer on the team with fellow gators and alumni association members. If you look at my desk, I have a Gator banner, pens, paper, signs, jerseys and even a business card holder with an embossed Gator head on it. My wife has banned me from buying any more Gator T-shirts, polos, wallets, watches, socks, underwear or hats. I even have a sign that I take camping that says “The Swamp,” just so I remember which tent is mine.
You could say that I’ve been a Gator since birth, literally. My father was getting his Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry when I came along. I was indoctrinated early and I bleed Blue and Orange – regardless of sport.
So, you can imagine my excitement when a few years ago, Florida won a National Championship in football, led by Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow. If you’re a SportsCenter addict, you’ve probably heard the jokes about Tebow, the annoyance by Stephen A. Smith with the Jets’ fans insistence on him being starting QB; his unfortunate inability to “fit in” with the Patriots’ organization, or countless mentions of him on every sports broadcast – regardless if he’s playing.
He’s a polarizing figure. Not only because of his natural athletic abilities – or shortcomings; but also because of his faith, his humility, and his insistence on giving God glory before taking an ounce for himself. It stands out because it’s abnormal.
If you read the bible verse he wears on his eye-black, Micah 6:8, you’ll find the central passage for our series that we’ll be starting here today.
Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Rather than do things in the order that’s written, our walk with God works in reverse. We can’t act justly and love mercy, unless we first know how to walk humbly with God.
You might think you already have this area pretty well mastered but I’d venture to guess we all could improve our measure of humility. Lord knows I can.
Prior to Jesus’ arrival, the Greek philosophers despised humility as a character trait because it implied weakness, inadequacy and worthlessness. The word was always used in a bad or inferior sense. This however is not the meaning defined in the Bible and so completely illustrated by Christ’s life.
Biblical humility is a recognition that by ourselves we are inadequate and worthless. True humility produces gratitude for His mercy and grace. We see that we have been the recipient of God’s redeeming love.
What does walking humbly with God look like?
A number of people have differing views and definitions of biblical humility. I would contend that biblical humility is to have accepted the undeserving mercy and grace that He pours out upon us. Thus, to walk humbly with God would imply a constant watchful, familiar, yet “humble,” conversation with God – knowing our place is under his foot, not before the throne. We don’t elevate ourselves, nor do we hide from the world, but we follow the example of Christ’s daily walk with the Father.
If you were to ask me today “how are you doing?” I would probably steal a line from Dave Ramsay to say “Better than I deserve.” It’s a statement that constantly reminds me of His mercy and grace, that I need God, his forgiveness, and that I can’t go alone.
- – Can we walk humbly with God in our alone time?
- – I praise Him as I sit with Maddy in my lap, knowing she is the most beautiful gift of life and love, and immediately, I come to a place of understanding his power, his creation – and completely in awe of Him in that moment
- – Where, when we’re still, does the voice of God come in so we can yield to Him?
- – Often, it’s the small victories when we look for his hand and the path pleasing to him
Our humility with God is more than just quiet moments, it’s also how we walk outwardly. It’s how we demonstrate his grace.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” – Matthew 16:24
A few weeks ago, Ken Hopkins mentioned: how we follow him as if we’re tethered, walking directly in his footsteps in a way that’s beyond our understanding or familiarity. But the other component of that is understanding the yoke that he labored in our stead. The burden of our sins, which he demolished at Golgatha.
If we are to follow him, how could we not do it by first acknowledging his mercy and grace? Beyond us submitting and accepting his grace, how else do we emulate Christ in his footsteps as he demonstrated humility?
Turn with me to Philippians 2:3-8 –
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Here, Paul clearly states that we are to have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had when He came to this earth as a man. We are called to the same humility that Christ displayed through His life on earth.
Christ possessed two natures – a divine nature and a human nature. He never ceased being God but He set aside the glory to become a man. He gave up His divine rights and “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant”
Jesus could have come to earth and demanded that everyone worship Him all day and night. He could have been the wealthiest man on earth with riches beyond imagination. Instead, He came to be a servant and to do the will of God the Father. Jesus was not selfish; He focused on doing what His father sent Him to do.
Jesus humbled Himself and was crucified on a cross, a humiliating and excruciating way to be killed. We have no doubt that in death he humbled himself. But, how does Christ lead in humility in his life?
When I was a scout, the scout slogan was deeply ingrained into our troop. Anyone know the slogan? “Be prepared?” nope. That’s their motto. The slogan is a statement of servanthood. It says: “Do a good turn daily.”
Subtextually, we were taught to do it without expecting anything in return. No acknowledgment, no reward, no pay. Do it just because.
The people who I always remember as a leader, and showed examples of humility, love and as a servant, did so without expectations of reward.
v7 taking the very nature of a servant
Throughout the Bible, we see Christ being an example of service, showing us how to serve, and calling us to do so. His greatest commandment – to love one another as we love ourselves – is also a call to serve, in love. For, what is love let we not take it to action. Time and again we see service in Christ’s life, including:
– Washing of Feet
– Feeding of thousands
– Jesus was not too high and mighty to get His hands dirty. He allowed Himself to be touched by all men (even the diseased and insane) and He in turn was willing to touch all men.
– Blind, Dumb, and Sick of all kind
While Christ could have healed all these people without touching them, He chose to heal them in this way. It was especially unthinkable at the time to get anywhere near a leper, no less to touch one!
Its not about being subservient. It’s about putting aside yourself, your personal agendas, and putting others First.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
There used to be a phrase that I remember from Children’s Ministry when I was little, and it was all God First, Others Second, Me Tenth. It intentionally skipped several levels, because it implied that there was ALWAYS someone that I could serve before myself. So what if I was hungry, someone else was more. So what if I was tired, I could carry another bag.
It’s no surprise that Tebow’s passage on his facepaint is more than just a quote. It’s a model for how he’s built his life to follow the example of Christ. For example, week after week, he would regularly invite children with serious illnesses and their families to games, not as a tax write-off, but because he saw a way to use his position to serve.
- – Tim uses his position to do more than grant wishes, but to truly make his time with them a gift of service.
- – He invites kids and needy families to visit with him before a game during warm-ups. They talk, hangout, and even throw a few passes.
- – He asks them to sit in his box, or if able, join him on the field
- – More impressively, immediately after a game, he doesn’t go to to the press room as most teammates do, he first goes to the family to be with them. He’ll ask them what they thought of the game, and sees to their needs first.
As Tebow stated in an interview with ESPN, “It just puts it in perspective of, hey, this is more important than what I am doing right now.”
Dottie Rambo penned these words that describe what Jesus did.
He left the splendor of heaven,Knowing His destiny,Was the lonely hill of Golgatha,There to lay down His life for me.
Think about it! Jesus surrendered the splendor of heaven to come to earth and live as a man – TO SERVE US
We must surrender to humbly accept his Grace. We’re called to be the light, and walk in his image – the image of a servant – surrendering to His will.
If we’re going to look out for the interests of others we’ll need to follow the example that Jesus set for us and be willing to surrender our rights as He did. If each of us is selfishly clinging to our own rights and refusing to surrender for the good of others, there won’t be unity in the church. But if we follow the example of Christ and are willing to surrender and relinquish our rights for others we’ll promote unity. And the church isn’t the only place we need to follow Christ’s example of surrender; we need to practice it in our homes, in the work place and in all of our relationships.
Are we ready to accept his grace and humble ourselves to his path?
Do we really want to walk with him?
If so, how will we submit to Him, and how can we become his servants, like he was a servant to all?