We often hear people describe a person who is unpretentious, straight-forward and friendly as down-to-earth. In short, they are saying that such a person is humble. But where did they get the idea of calling someone down-to-earth? This idiomatic expression may have been taken from the epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians where he described the humility of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Phil. 2:5-7). Yes, though he was God, Jesus came down to earth to live among us.
But why would Jesus come down and live as one among us? Is life not better in heaven where he is seated at the right hand of God and sharing his glory? Well, it all boils down to God’s love for us. The Apostle John fitly described this love when he said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We are living in a sinful, messed up and perishing world. We are told in Scriptures that everyone has sinned, and the penalty of sin is death. But John further said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
While the coming of Jesus brought hope to everyone, it was not an easy task for him. Although he was the precious and beloved Son of God, he had to submit to the will of the Father and come down to earth. This act of humility on his part entailed enormous sacrifices and serves to teach us valuable lessons on how we should also live our lives. This is the reason the Apostle Paul admonished us to have the same attitude as that of Jesus. Below are some of the lessons we can learn:
Be willing to stoop down so as to lift others up. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, “he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness!” (Phil 2:7). Many in high positions find it difficult, and even humiliating, to serve the lowly, the poor and the weak. But Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of dying for others. When Jesus came, he did not come to enjoy what the world could offer. Rather, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). Though he had to go through a painful death, he did not resist the will of the Father, but said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). In his epistle, the Apostle John encouraged us to do likewise, saying, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Be willing to be called a brother by those who do not measure up to your standard. Although Jesus was holy and blameless, he did not stay away from those who were struggling in their faith. In fact, he even called them his brothers, because “both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb. 2:11). When it comes to the sinners and tax collectors, Jesus did not avoid them, but mingled with them for one purpose – that they may be saved. He said of Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:9-10).
Be willing to set aside your ego (self-esteem). The pride of many is their quantifiable success. They measure this in terms of the dollar sign. They have the illusion that money is all they need. King Solomon said, “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall” (Prov. 18:11). But in the case of the Lord Jesus, we are told, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Unless we are willing to set aside our ego, we might find ourselves up against God, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Hallelujah!