A well-known Christian preacher flies into town for a citywide evangelistic meeting. He expects to be greeted at the airport by a delegation of prestigious individuals. Instead, an old taxi driver holding a piece of cardboard with the preacher’s name misspelled waits at baggage claim and then drops him off at a second-class hotel. The room is small, the bed uncomfortable, the service lousy, and there is not even a fruit basket or welcome note. When no one calls or takes him out to dinner, he feels deeply offended and says to himself, “How dare they treat me like this? Don’t they know who I am? They don’t deserve my ministry. That’s the last time I’m coming to this place.”
The next morning, however, all his honor and good fortunes are quickly restored after the organizers discover that their guest speaker had become a victim of miscommunication.
Could it be that this incident was not an unfortunate mix-up, but rather the Lord testing His servant’s humility? After all, He had sent this man to represent Himself, the Christ of the New Testament. And in the Gospels, we see so clearly that Jesus was genuinely humble in His dealings with others.
What was the key to Christ’s humility? It was deeply rooted in His understanding and accepting the truth that the greatest glory in heaven and on earth is to be the servant of all. That’s the reason why prophetic passages like Isaiah 53 portray Him as a servant, and Psalm 40:8 describes Him saying: “I delight to do Your will, O my God.”
If there is no greater glory than being a servant of all, then much of our 21st-century Church is miles away from the pattern Christ left us. Our worldly view of glory is precisely where we need to get our understanding set straight.
The moment we realize that it is God’s will for us to follow Christ’s humility, we often get this negative feeling that we are about to become a broken, selfless creature everyone can trample on.
However, the humility God calls us to is far more than being broken from our pride and sin. It is something entirely positive and wonderful. It is participating in the very nature of Jesus.
Pride caused Lucifer, the most beautiful, powerful and intelligent angel, to fall and become Satan, who led man into sin. And it was Christ’s humility that saved and lifted fallen man from the pit of hell to sit on His throne with Him. Shouldn’t that amazing truth give us enough reason to follow Christ’s humility?
When we seek to follow Christ and become like Him, we often start by making a long list of spiritual exercises we plan to do to make it happen. However, the foundation of becoming like Christ in humility—as well as in all other virtues—begins with this one step: “Take My yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29).
If I carry a yoke on my neck, it means that I no longer stand up straight. I once saw a postcard with the words “Not I, but Christ” written on it. To illustrate, the artist had drawn a man standing up tall inside the letter “I.” Then he drew the same man inside the letter “C,” but now the man had to bend over to fit.
This humility of Christ will not become a reality in my life by accident, by wishing for it, by studying about it or by fasting and praying for it. It only comes by my deliberate willingness to obey what Jesus told me to do: to take His yoke upon me. That means from now on, Jesus and I are yoked together. Where He goes, I go; where He turns, I turn; when He stops to comfort a widow, bless a child or wash His disciples’ feet, I do the same.
As I learn from Him how to walk under His yoke, I discover that the yoke is easy and my heart is at peace. And by submitting to His yoke and imitating Him, His gentleness and humility will become mine.
My dear friend, will you take this first step today and decide to take His yoke upon you? There is no other way to develop the humility that represents the Lord Jesus.
Follow Him in humility.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.