“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 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.”
- Philippines 2:6-11
There can be no discussion of self-image (whether good or bad, low self-esteem or overly inflated ego) without touching on the subject of humility.
The mindset you have towards these two virtues will determine your outlook or viewpoint on a lot of things.
Dictionary.com defines humility, humble, and humiliate in the following ways:
Dictionary.com goes on to give the following synonyms for the above three words:
Personally, I differentiate humility and humiliation in this way: having humility (or being humble) requires a measure of self-will, it is deciding to be humble rather than prideful. Humiliation (or being humiliated), on the other hand, is being forced to be humble.
I find it interesting that Dictionary.com deems dishonor and disgrace as synonyms for humiliated. What is the opposite of dishonor and/or disgrace? -- Honor? Grace?
In fact, one of the antonyms that Dictionary.com gives for humiliated is (praise).
What you have to understand is this: We are God’s highest form of creation, we are more than conquers, and we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
It is true, we are made in the image of God, and crafted by an intelligent Supreme being. That Supreme being stands above the entire universe, and has no equal.
And it is that same God that loved us so much that He clothed Himself in the very flesh He created you and I in, and purchased us with His perfect blood.
We must be something special for a Supreme being to go through all that trouble of becoming a Supreme sacrifice in order to restore us back into proper relationship with Him.
Paul tells us in Philippines 2:6-11, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 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.”
A prideful person seeks to boast of his own reputation, but the God of the universe decided to give up His.
He created us in His image and saw it necessary to make Himself in that same image by taking on the fashion of a man. In doing so, He humbled himself and submitted unto death, even the death of the cross.
Before Christ was "humiliated", by the very people Him came to save on His way to Calvary, He first humbled Himself. He gave Himself up to be tried and put to death, yes, even the death of the cross.
The God of the universe who could have called down an army of angels and bring His accusers to judgement -- and would have been justified in doing so -- decided to take death onto Himself, and still His humility flowed through in His words when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As an Apostolic Christian Writer -- and has any writer for that matter -- it is very easy to get carried away with pride. You see, when it comes to being a writer, we tend to be very knowledgeable or informed in many different areas. In other words, as writers, we are often avid readers, and can appear to be educated in many fields of study.
In fact, as an Apostolic Christian Writer, it is important that we are constantly studying our Bibles, so that we are “confident” that we are rightfully dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
With that said, if you were to examine an Apostolic Christian Writer’s home library, the chances are you are going to find that that writer is in possession of, not just one Bible, but a handful of many different translations, as well as many commentaries. Not to mention the other volumes of theological literature he might glean from. As a writing minister, that is usually a given.
Moreover, that same writer may also possesses works on many other subjects and fields of study that he or she might find interesting -- such as psychology, biology, physiology, zoology and other subjects within the medical field.
As well as law and criminology, history, geography, physics and other forms of mathematics, economics, English literature and other areas in the craft of writing (creative writing, article writing, speech writing, journalism, etc.) sells and marketing, leadership, biographies, memoirs, and the list can go on and on.
In fact, I have had many people tell me over the years, “Oh, you’re a writer…you must be very smart”.
The truth is: I am no smarter than anyone else. In fact, I choose not to think in terms of smart and dumb. There are no dumb people in this world. The real difference is a matter of commitment and faithfulness.
One of the greatest virtues that a writing minister can be graced with is that of humility. Rev. J.T. Pugh said this about humility, “True humility does not come as a person strives for it, but it is a byproduct that is always present when other virtues have their rightful place in the life of a preacher.”
Here is the thing about the church and the ministry, what you are a part of is a group of flawed creatures that have been forgiven – a forgiving audience, if you will.
When it comes to being a preacher, many congregants will tell you that you did a great job even when you may not have. They do this because the Body of Christ is about encouraging one another and lifting each other up – edifying one another.
Consider Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Most Apostolics, who love the ministry, and those that serve in it, are neither insincere or intentional flatterers. There may be times that they do not understand what a writing minister has written, but they find an area to compliment the piece of writing in some way or another as a sign of respect, love, and appreciation for the place in ministry that writing minister has.
The Body will try to encourage him or her in some way, and every writing minister should acknowledge this and be grateful for such love and support that they get from the Body.
In fact, this is what is known as the ministry of the flock. They are ministering to the minister as the minister is trying to minister to them. Remember, ministry simply means service, and this is the flocks way of serving the minister.
However, the next verse in Ephesians hits home as well. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” (Ephesians 4:17).
You see, it works both ways. As a writing minister, you may really fail and not produce a piece of writing that ministers to the flock, but still have the flock give you some kind of flattery in order to edify you and keep your spirits lifted; or you could write an inspiring and moving masterpiece, with genius prose that people will be talking about for years to come, and end up walking as the Gentiles walk – in vanity of the mind.
With that said, flattery is a common enemy of humility, and every minister gets far more of his or her share of it. It's important that a writing minister keep a level head. Most are affected by flattery far more than they realize. And I'm sure many of you will agree that a prideful conceited person is usually very distasteful and repulsive. How much more important is it that a writing minister have the right idea of himself and his abilities (and lack thereof) and be clothed in humility?
Great writers are always made out of humble wordsmiths. Remember the words of Paul in Romans 12:3, “…to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Now Over to You