This is post #5 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3: 12-14 (NAS)
So, how’s your Christ Collection ensemble looking?
We’ve only just begun, but so far, I’ve slipped into my comfortable under garment of Compassion, and placed over it a soft-hearted garment of Kindness. Now, I’m ready for some outerwear.
I’d suggest something really durable. This road we’re on is no picnic. Life is tough so our clothing needs to be tougher. And flexible.
Ahh yes. Here it is: Humility.
Hmm. Doesn’t look too worn does it?
As a matter of fact, in this self-aggrandizing society in which we live, very few are willing to take the high road, leaning into Humility as they go.
You see, from Paul’s perspective, wearing Humility not only meant being humble, but in New Testament Greek, the word also included the idea of bowing down or lowliness of self. Some scholars even suggest that the word includes the embarrassing realities associated with self-abasement.
Now that’s hard on our fragile egos, don’t you think?
As I see it, the Garment of Humility or Lowliness of Self will never be a popular choice for human beings living here on planet earth.
Why, you ask?
Because throughout this lifetime, we’re taught to be survivors.
No, wait. Not just survivors, but if we really want to be a success in this world, we need to become top dog! And in this dog-eat-dog world, it looks downright stupid to appear weak or to not have your act together.
Yet, here comes Jesus of Nazareth. Our Savior. Our Lord. Our Role Model in life.
Hmm. Let’s see now…
His birth is first announced to lowly, poor shepherds.
He’s born in a stable, sleeping in a hay-filled feed trough.
His first worshippers are sheep, goats, and a handful of migrant workers.
He’s assumed to be illegitimate, with no royalty or privilege to His name.
He’s raised by a couple of poor street kids who scratch out a living any way they can.
He grows up, seemingly fatherless, in Nazareth, a sleepy little village with a reputation for being the home of nobodies.
He becomes not a scholar or a rabbi, but a simple tradesmen hanging around low life like fishermen, tax collectors, harlots and, worse yet, Gentiles.
Instead of taking the traditional road to success, He chooses to remain in the shadows, never elevating Himself into a position of power or authority.
He gathers big crowds, yet shows little leadership ability or vested interest in building an army of followers.
He chooses to suffer at the hands of His enemies.
He freely accepts the scorn, the ridicule, and yes, even the violence of his detractors.
He dies in dishonor, hanging naked from a gruesome cross. A manner of death reserved for robbers and thieves.
Living His life in poverty, He’s buried in a tomb that some other family owns.
Welcome to the Garment of Humility we are asked to wear as followers of Christ.
Which begs the question.
How in the world can we human beings choose to lower ourselves to such standards? How can this life of downward mobility actually exist in a world that despises such things?
As I see it, the answers are found in God’s Book…
First, from the Book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verses 1-3, the writer says this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)
You see, it’s only because of Jesus and the joy set before us as we dwell in His presence, that you or I can find the strength to put on the Garment of Humility today. Some call it, delayed gratification. In other words, because of the great reward awaiting us on the other side, you and I can freely follow Jesus, even when the road runs through Death Valley.
Like Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, we can say…
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2nd Corinthians 4: 16-18 (NIV)
My Prayer: Jesus, I’m amazed, and admittedly, a bit puzzled, at the Garment of Humility You chose to clothe Yourself in. This lowering of self, this self-abasement, is far beyond what my human understanding can embrace. Holy Spirit, in a society where bigger is better and winning is the goal, will You clothe me in this Garment of Humility, so that Christ alone might be seen in and through me. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: How am I viewing my “light and momentary troubles?” Do I see them as problems to be solved or as opportunities to be embraced by Christ in the midst of them? What might running the race “with perseverance…fixing my eyes on Jesus,” look like for me today? Am I willing to clothe myself with the Garment of Humility as I walk through this dog-eat-dog world, trusting Jesus alone to carry me through?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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