- The Apostles Creed
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The following is an excerpt provided by the Village Church.
In the birth of Jesus, we see God entering our world in a beautiful and unexpected way. An early church theologian named Athanasius described God’s incarnation this way: “He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us.”
When Athanasius said Christ stooped to our level in the incarnation, he reminded us that God condescended, voluntarily put aside His superiority, and made Himself like us in order to have communion with us. The very God of the universe humbled Himself by taking on Himself total humanity in its weakest form, a baby.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:3-8
Like faith, humility is ultimately demonstrated in obedience to God. Jesus humbled Himself in obedience to God. Verse 6 says He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” This means Jesus didn’t cling to His position of honor, holding Himself above the will of God. It wasn’t beneath Him to live and die as a man even though He was and is part of the triune God.
Look at the story of Mary to see Christlike humility. To be clear, the Bible doesn’t give any explanation for why God chose Mary. Like us all, she was a sinner in need of a Savior (Luke 1:47). Scripture doesn’t say she was rewarded for her godliness, but we see her humble obedience demonstrated in her response to God’s grace.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:26-38
Put yourself in Mary’s place. She was a young girl, most likely barely in her teens, engaged to be married, and an angel appeared to tell her that she was going to be pregnant. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Mary would become pregnant while remaining a virgin, and the baby would be the Son of God. Surely no one in history had ever been more surprised.
Notice in Mary’s response to the angel that she was afraid (see v. 29), she had questions (see v. 34), yet she submitted herself to God’s will in humble obedience (see v. 38).
How about you? What about complete obedience to God frightens you? What questions do you have about living by faith? In what areas of your life are you most prone reject humility and lean into pride? What will you do so that Mary’s words become the posture of your heart?”
I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.- Luke 1:38