There are numerous truths which demonstrate that the saying, ‘Fact is stranger than fiction’ is correct! Philippians 2:1-11 is one place to find these truths, for these verses show that you ‘Descend into greatness’. Yes, you read that rightly. Being humble, serving others and loving (i.e. living for the good of others, being ‘other-person-centred’) leads to ultimate greatness, whereas being self- promoting, inflating your ego, being proud, arrogant and condescending ultimately leads to disaster.
The general truth, the way God ultimately orders the universe, is this —
“Whoever exalts himself [or herself] will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself [or herself] will be exalted.” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:12)
Jesus also said the same thing on at least one other occasion, in Luke 14:11. So, this is emphasized to us by our Lord.
When Christ said this, he wasn’t introducing a new truth, for Proverbs 3:34 says —
“God opposes the proud, but shows favour to the humble.”
God ultimately blesses or is against people, and the ones he lavishes his love and grace eternally upon are those who are humble about themselves but‘boast’ about him.
This is why the Apostle Peter says in his first letter —
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,
that he may lift you up in due time.”
(1 Peter 5:5b-6)
Thus, it should be no surprise to you that when the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:6-8 about Christ humbling himself, that he was subsequently exalted by his Father (v9-11).
And, as Christ is the model human, it should also be no surprise to you that Paul urges you and me to have and show the same humility (v3-5).
God is the most humble and ‘other-person-centred’ person in the universe. So, while Christ’s incarnation, life and death should stun us into awed thankfulness, in one sense we should not be surprised by them (given God’s character).
So, my friends, for your life and mine, and TGS: The Way Up is Down!