“Be humble or be humbled!” This is a phrase heard often by the athletes participating in my 5 a.m. CrossFit class at CrossFit Petram in Middletown, Delaware. I know what you’re thinking. First off, it sounds like coach Marshall has a bit of an ego – but for my athletes, this saying has a much different connotation and implications for them both inside and outside of the gym.
Let’s make this simple. In order for us to be lifted up – we must be less so that HE can be greater. Ok, maybe not so simple. John the Baptist said it first in John 3:30 NLT, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” As the community of religious leaders looked to John the Baptist to elevate his own status and position as the Messiah, he made his position very clear – for the rightful king to be known, “I must step aside, I must become less”.
Wow, what a great example. When we think about our progressive culture of individuality and success, being humble is to be a failure. John the Baptist shows that there is more to gain by making the way for Jesus to be recognized as the Messiah. As it is, John was humbled by the glory of Jesus. John was a good man sure, but someone more righteous, more merciful, more holy, and simply just more than himself came as promised – what else is there to be, but humble? John would get a gold star from me if he were an athlete at my gym. When my athletes are coming in ripping and roaring to go, it’s important to remind them that where they are is just fine, but there will always be someone whose strengths will outshine theirs. The only way for them to excel is to recognize them as weak. Recognize their imperfections, and become strengthened by addressing their faults.
As people, we have the inherent nature to want to rise up and shine – especially when it is handed to us as simply as it was to John. But no matter the circumstance there will always be someone who is more talented, more appreciated, more successful, and simply just “more” than we are, and unless we get over our ego and understand this reality, we continue to live in a “be humble, or be humbled” world.
It is much easier to be humble when we take a position like John the Baptists. First, we have to point our attention to Jesus. He is our true north. When our judgment comes, it won’t matter how swole we got, if our style was lit, if we were successful by our own standards. What will matter is how we humbled ourselves to a life worthy of it’s calling, did we show the world that everything we’ve done was to lift Jesus up? Next, serve others. Serve those who need it, welcome everyone with love and share with them all that you have and all that you would expect be given to you. Finally, put yourself last. When we’re last, we cannot be any lower which means He is higher, and that is our great commission