“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Ultimate humility leads to ultimate exaltation.
Everyone loves a good “rags to riches” story. A story where someone who can seem so unbecoming eventually finds themselves exalted and seemingly worthy of honor. Now, there are plenty of stories where people simply try to “climb the ladder” to reach the top (think Disney’s Aladdin!), but that isn’t the type of story we’re talking about here. The Bible is filled with these types of stories: think about Sarah, who was humiliated by not bearing children, and then God met her in her grief and gave her Isaac. Think about Joseph, who was thrown away by his brothers, then eventually held great authority in Egypt. Think about Esther, a female Jew who had been disregarded through life, eventually used by God to bring hope to His people. Think about Mary, close to being sent away by her husband for her pregnancy, only soon to discover she was the mother of Jesus.
In verse 9-11 of Philippians, Paul describes what happened to Jesus after He humbled Himself unto death on a cross. Through Jesus’ humility, God exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name. Now, here is something that is even crazier for you and me: Through Jesus’ humility, we can join in His exaltation. How? Through joining in His humility. Oftentimes, one of the hardest things for us to do is to admit that we need help. But ultimate humility for us looks like laying aside our pride and pretense and saying to God, “I need Your help. I can’t save myself and I can’t do this on my own.” When we join in Jesus’ humility, when we rightly see that we should have been on that cross, we get to join in Jesus’ exaltation, so that when Jesus rose from the grave, through faith in Him, we did too.
May we remember this the next time we think we have to stand up for ourselves or fight our own battle. May we remember the example of Jesus, that His humility led to His exaltation. And in this case, it led to ours as well.
What would it look like for you to pursue humility so that someone else might be exalted? Is there a specific situation where you have been pursuing your own desires at the expense of someone else?