Hi everyone. Rob here.
Last week we looked at the humility of God. I quoted from Philippians 2:7 where it says of Christ,
rather, he made himself nothing…
This doesn’t mean that he made himself a non-person or thought of himself as worthless or having nothing to offer; rather it means he made himself nothing in the eyes of the world. He renounced worldly status. He refused to play the games of power. He wasn’t bound by peer pressure or social mores. By doing so he became absolutely free to do God’s will.
Christ’s humility led to him having strong inter-personal boundaries. This is an area where we often struggle. We think that being humble and taking the lowest place means allowing ourselves to be humiliated, taken advantage of, burnt out, stressed out or abused. This is not true. It is a distortion of true humility. More importantly it is a distortion of our personhood. Humility simply means having a very clear awareness that our life is in Christ. This doesn’t eliminate our personhood, but rather, enables us to come alive to true personhood in relationship to God.
Jesus was outrageous. He would say no to his mother. He would say no to people who held more status. He would say no to the crowds. He would say yes to the unclean, yes to the sinner, yes to the status-less people of his world. His boundaries weren’t motivated by self-protection, but by love and fulfilling the mission God had for him. When the crowds tried to make him king on their terms he moved away from the crowds. When the Pharisees tried to humiliate him on their terms he exposed their pride and hard hearts. When faced with enormous need he gave freely but would take time out later to reconnect with his Father. He had fun. He went to parties. He let the little kids come to him. And everything, including the cross, was chosen by him. He lived life on God’s terms and no one else’s. Whose terms are we living our lives on?
One of the reasons we have poor boundaries is that we haven’t yet died with Christ. If we haven’t died to ourselves we will still suffer from false motives and selfish thinking. We will still be bound by others opinions, social mores and the desire for status or comfort. We’ll still not be free with Christ’s freedom. We won’t love with Christ’s love. Christ’s boundaries were truly loving. They were designed to bring down “rulers from their thrones” and to lift up the humble (see Luke 1:52). So he would be tough and tender. He would be careful about who could be trusted with the treasures of his heart. He would walk closely with his Father. We are asked to do the same.
The truth is that we have been bestowed enormous dignity as God’s children. He would never ask us to think of ourselves as anything less than precious in his sight. We are friends and siblings of Christ himself. But we are asked to get on board with God’s mission in the world. We are asked to die with Christ so that we can rise with him and live the life he would live if he were us. We are asked to love out of the love we have received from our Father. We are asked to put in whatever boundaries help us to live the life God has for us. Some of you may need to start saying no to some people or activities. Some of you may need to start saying yes. We all need to lay our lives down before God.
May you all know grace and courage as you seek to live life with the humility of Christ. May your boundaries be well-formed so that you may guard your heart well and may the love of God shine through you all.
Grace and peace.