Exaltation Through Humility

Steve Arterburn

Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.

 

For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.

And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.

But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.

If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.

Keeping Perspective

Steve Arterburn

Your finances are important. They’re worthy of your studied attention. But not your worry, and certainly not your faith, hope, and love. 

The bottom line, men, is this: you’re not supposed to live in fear of your financial future. I’m reminded of how Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, lived his life. He headed an organization with income of hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Yet he and his wife raised their personal support each year just like all Campus Crusade staff’a modest income by any measurement.

They didn’t own a car or real estate. When Dr. Bright won the million-dollar Templeton Award for Progress in Religion in 1996, he put the money toward developing a new ministry initiative. Like all Campus Crusade staff, he paid into a modest retirement fund. But he liquidated most of that to start a new training center in Moscow. He had no savings account and accepted no speaking fees. When he died in 2003, he left behind few worldly goods, yet God provided for him abundantly throughout his life.

Followers of Christ are called to a life of faith, not fear. That life of faith may look differently from one person to the next, but the lack of fear will look the same. It’ll be a combination of wisdom, diligence, and trust that does everything it can to live a responsible financial life while putting ultimate hope in Christ alone for the present and the future. 

Perseverance Under Pressure

Steve Arterburn

It’s easy to be God’s man when life is on a roll, isn’t it? But it’s another thing to be faithful in thought, word, and deed when you’re caught in the vortex of life’s storms. Yet that’s exactly when God’s man steps up to meet the challenge with integrity. The message is clear: perseverance under pressure pleases God. Some examples for you might be:

  • Staying the course in the absence of immediate results.
  • Seeking God in circumstances that are beyond your control.
  • Continuing to pray for God’s will to be done in every situation.
  • Doing God’s will whether you feel like it or not.
  • Being satisfied with a reward that may come in the next life rather than this one.
  • Staying sexually pure.
  • Striving for excellence and earning your paycheck, even if you’re not always particularly wild about your job.

Guys, this is what we’re faced with in living life day to day, and persevering is evidence that you’re living a life of faith. And your response both tests and reveals the true depth of your spiritual character.

Martin Luther said that the gospel is intended for your ears rather than your eyes. Why? Because the promises and purposes of God are not readily discernable to your sight. That’s why you’re called to walk by faith. And that’s why you must persevere, trusting in Jesus Christ.