It all comes down to that. The Christian life (that is, following in the way of Jesus) is a way of humility. I know it may be hard to see that in a society that seems to rotate on an axis of power. Yes, even in the church. There is a refocus that is needed – a revival of Christ-centeredness.
When our lives rotate on an axis of power, it is about pride and getting our way – regardless of what it takes. It’s very often about force, and even violence. It’s about having the last word, and about being right. It’s about being recognized and respected. An axis of power, which we see in Jesus’ life and ministry as well as our own, will say ‘God is on my side.’ My way is right, and your way is ‘sin’ and God will not bless that – so I will have nothing to do with you. (We saw that attitude in the religious leaders of Jesus’ day). The axis of power excludes and oppresses. An axis of power constantly criticizes for not ‘doing enough.’ In relationships, an axis of power puts the problem before the relationship. In religion, when things rotate on an axis of power, it is very deceptive – because you think that what you are doing is ‘for God,’ but in reality the motivation is anything but His way.
Jesus was introducing His way that rotates on an axis of the (hesed) steadfast love of God. Because an axis of love puts others first. It is humble. It is patient and kind. It doesn’t have to have its own way, and it isn’t violent. It doesn’t have to have the last word, and it’s not about being right. It doesn’t cling to title and doesn’t even seek to be placed on a pedestal. It doesn’t hound people, and it recognizes that everyone is trying their best. It shows mercy. It pursues those who may have given themselves over to or are lost in sin. It cuts people slack, and it forgives. It places the relationship before the problem.
Recently, as a part of Vineyard Gilbert’s sermon series “Following the Way,” I had the opportunity to teach on the topic of “The Way of Humility.” I drew ideas from Brian Zahnd (“Beauty with Save the World“) and Dallas Willard.