The Model of Holiness
If there was anyone who had the right to be treated as God, it was Jesus – because He is God! But His attitude showed how the 'image of God' should be worked out in a human being. You may recall that the Holy Trinity created mankind in their image (Genesis 1:26-27), but after the fall, human nature was so spoiled that it was only fit for death (Romans 5:12). But Jesus was born as a human being without any of our inherent corruption; He had the nature of God. Therefore, His attitude is the perfect model of what God intends us to be (Matthew 11:29).
For Jesus, submission was not a sign of weakness, but of glad fellowship with the Father with whom He had spent an eternity in heaven (John 8:14). He had no interest in boasting of His Divinity because He was totally secure (Luke 22:66-68). He knew who He was. Jesus had no problem of pride in lowering Himself to touch lepers (Luke 5:13), teach social outcasts (Matthew 9:10) or go to the cross (Luke 24:7).
Indeed, He willingly gave up the glory of heaven so that He could be born in a stable, live as a carpenter and then die to pay for our sins (1 Peter 3:18): and buy us back from the authority of Satan (Titus 2:14). So He had no need to make a name for Himself (He already knew that His Name had almighty power), nor did He grasp glory for Himself (John 8:50), but delighted in submitting and serving (Hebrews 5:8): because He loved Father God and the human race.
When any person is born again by God's Spirit (John 3:3-8), they becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), with a new desire to be the person God had always intended us to be. Pride is to go out and submission is to come in (Ephesians 5:21). Grasping greatness should no longer rule the agenda, but willing service should become the norm. As we start to realise who we are in Christ, these attitude changes grow within us. When we understand that we are children of the Most High God (Acts 16:17), the saved and redeemed inheritors of heaven, then transitory worldly fame seems rather pathetic. The insecurity which drives us to self-assertion will only shrink away once we know how safe and treasured we are by God; as Christ knew in His relationship with the Father. Most of our attitude problems find their solution in knowing our identity; and only then can we serve joyfully in love. A few people like that at work or in the neighbourhood would make all the difference ... and you should be one of them!
© Dr Paul Adams