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Chapter 13 - Humility is the Foundation of Love

Spiritual growth requires a transition from thinking first of ourselves to thinking first about others. Both love and truth bring us to humility.

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: - Philippians 2:2-5

Christian maturity is a process of becoming settled. With the peace and assurance we have in Christ, those fears and ambitions we had when we were less mature slowly fade. This transition can be seen when Paul tells us that his circumstances are relatively irrelevant.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. - Philippians 4:12

Paul also gives us an example in that even the prospect of death no longer agitates or frightens.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. - Philippians 1:21

As we more and more live for Christ, and look forward to our being with him, our concerns, contentions, and striving in this world diminish. As a result, we have a freedom that allows us to seek after the advantage of others.

Both truth and love bring us to humility. It is essential to build this foundation for the most difficult task Christians are given, to love one another. We are specifically instructed in the New Testament twelve times to love one another. This is perhaps because we are so un-loveable. Perhaps one reason for the attractiveness of running a church as a mechanical system is that it prevents the relational exposure that might require us to tolerate each otherís abrasiveness.

The mini-series 'Band of Brothers' illustrates the selfless love that adverse circumstances can bring out. It presents a picture of comradery that develops with people who might not be able to stand each other in other circumstances. In one scene one soldier ask another why he has kept his parachute with him. His response was, 'Since it is made of silk, I wanted to give it to my fiance for her wedding dress'. He then said, 'I guess you are surprised that I am so sentimental'. His friend replied, 'No, I am surprised you think we are going to survive'.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. - Proverbs 17:17

All of the instruction we receive as Christians should bring us to the point where from a humble heart we can show the love that God has shown us to our fellow Christians.

Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith. - 1 Timothy 1:5

This then becomes the sign of authenticity of the hand of God in our lives.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. - John 13:34-35

Humility, like love, is a process of emptying self. Love is also a process of filling. As by faith we have become a new creation, we are able to be filled with the love of God and show this love to other Christians which shows the world the authenticity of Jesus and his work.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. - John 17:20-23

  

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