This past week as I was flying from Atlanta to Detroit, I looked outside my window and saw buildings and other human ideas 30,000 feet below me. As the plane flew over thousands upon thousands of homes, skyscrapers and people, I had a perspective of humanity I had never seen before.
Looking down from 30,000 feet, I thought about all the problems we have and all the things we struggle with and how insurmountable they seem, and then I thought about how truly small those issues are. I also thought about all the times we falsely think we are so important and think that people should seek out our advice because we are so fashionable and smart.
And then I thought about God.
To God it must seem comical to watch all our toil and all our ideas come and go over our very brief existence. It also must be quite painful to see people seek satisfaction in the accumulation of wealth, in the expression of their sexuality, and in many other selfish ways.
Looking out that plane window, I couldn’t fathom how so many of us (including myself) can go through life and selfishly seek all that we think will be fun and fulfilling and still think that God will forgive us our sins and bring us to heaven. That’s very presumptuous of us to believe about the God of ALL things.
At 30,000 feet above the earth I saw two options. Either we really are insignificant, which means there is no point to search for our individual purposes in life, or God really cares for us, and that means that we need to put away all things that distract us from following Him completely.
The Apostle Paul took that thought a step further, and in my window seat on the airplane I understood what he meant in Philippians 2:3-8 a little more fully:
“3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”Philippians 2:3-8
If the Creator of the universe didn’t count being God as a reason not to join life on this tiny planet and become subject to a humiliating death, how much more should we humble ourselves before Him and others? Selfishness/self-importance and conceit can have no place in the heart of a Christ-follower.
There are two spiritual truths I learned on that airplane. 1) Our universal smallness should humble us. 2) Jesus humbling Himself and joining our tiny planet should empower us to live as powerfully and as selflessly as He did.
A challenge for myself (and for anyone who reads this blog) over the next couple days, and again in a month, is to 1) take a self-inventory of the things in my life that distract me from following Jesus completely and/or feed my self-importance, 2) to rid myself of them and 3) pray for opportunities to seek the interests of others.
May God reveal all areas in our lives that we are holding back from Him and help us as we seek Him more and more. Amen.