But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7-8 (KJV).
There was once an idiom that served as a compass, or reference for success. Especially, the kind of success that had to do with gradual, systematic stages that brought about enduring success. The saying goes thus- “Stoop to Conquer.”
This idiom was the title of an 18th-century comedy novel /play- “She Stoops To Conquer,” by the famous writer Oliver Goldsmith. Where the main protagonist in the story, a lady who humbles herself from being an upper-class gentry, assumes the position of a lowly maid to achieve her heart’s desires.
This sort of attitude is something we no longer see in the present world in which we live. Such behavior would be readily scuffed at by so many, who think they are highly sophisticated, civilized, high tech, and too advanced for this kind of lifestyle.
The code of conduct we exhibit these days is a hit it big the first time, get rich quick schemes, aim for the top, or start from the top of the ladder. Starting at the bottom of the ladder, and gradually making it to the top, what will call small beginnings have altogether gone obsolete. Hence, there is no dignity in labor anymore.
Such ideologies are quite opposite of what the Bible says. God in His word advises us never to despise small beginnings.
This kind of behavior we witness in our present times’ dear friend was not how the world was intended to work. When God created man and instituted work for man, He started man off by having him till the ground, and keep and tend the garden. From there man was to multiply, be fruitful, and replenish onwards to the ends of the earth. God didn’t just give man the whole earth in one go to start managing, God started man off small at first.
Jesus also gave His disciples a gradual progression of witnessing and evangelizing the world after they receive the Holy Spirit.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (KJV).
God always takes us through a progressive learning process for us to have lasting and sustainable success. We see this method all through the Bible. Everyone in the Bible who did great exploits for God had to start from point A-small beginnings and allow themselves to be trained by God to the point of achieving great exploits.
Even those who were prestigious or high ranking in society, and depending on their status, positions, and wealth, such as Moses, and the Apostle Paul, for God to use them, had to be knocked off their high horses and brought low. They had to succumb to God’s own way of doing things – submission and humility, the place of small beginnings.
The greatest of all such people was our Lord Jesus Christ, who was God Himself. So, we see that God does not set a standard that He Himself is not ready to do or carry out. He is the perfect role model and example that the world has ever seen.
Our Bible verse for today —- Philippians 2:7-8, tells us that Jesus assumed the position of a lowly servant, even though He was God Himself, and was entitled to all the Glory of Heaven, for Him to achieve the purpose of God’s redemptive plan for man, and the world, Jesus had to strip Himself off the title and paraphernalia of the Godhead. He stooped low, in the form of a humble, obedient servant. He took on sinful flesh, even to the point of death on the cross.
However, the story does not just end at the point of His death on the cross. With God, there is always a reward when we do things God’s own way. In subsequent verses of the same Philippians chapter two from verses 9-11, we are told how this singular act of Jesus earned Him the position, title, and power He bears over all of creation –
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”(KJV).
As Christians and believers in Christ Jesus, this is the example we have been called to follow. All this get-rich-quick scheme should never be our stock in trade. If we want to be blessed and exalted by God, then we must allow Him to take us through the testing of our character.
We must go through the school of humility, and learn how to stoop low before we look to conquer and reach for glory. It should never be the scheme of sowing from the place of greed, selfishness, and deceit, to swindle God or our fellow man to get what we want. That is why we have Christians these days who talk the talk but do not want to walk the walk.
It, therefore, behooves us to take careful thoughts of ourselves and what we are about, our roles and responsibilities. As followers of Christ, we must make it our prerogative that our actions walk hand in hand, aligned with our speech just as the Lord has directed, and commanded in His Word.
When we do this, we will see the outburst of God’s Glory in our lives and the world we live in. Isaiah 58. So let us choose to stoop low, and be humble, allowing God to take us through the process of refining our character so that He can lift us to the point of glory that He wants us to attain.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”1 Peter 5: 6-7 (KJV).
Choosing to Stoop low in humility is the fastest and only way to attain the glory and victory we have been called to achieve in Christ Jesus.
Ebimobo W. Obasi
PLEASE PRAY ALONG:
A Prayer for Humility.
Dear LORD JESUS, thank You for choosing to experience what it means to be human. At great cost, You came to earth and sacrificed Yourself for us by dying on a cross. Thank You for loving us so fully! As I think about Your selfless sacrifice, fill me with Your love. Let Your love flow through me today so that I joyfully serve others with humility. AMEN.