The entrance of Jesus into the world was a humble one. From the very beginning, God was giving us an image of Himself and His character. He began His very life by setting an example of humility for humanity. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus says whoever wants to become great must go lower. (Matthew 20:26 is one reference)
What does it mean to go lower?
For Jesus, it meant giving up His throne in Heaven to be with us, live with us, and be tempted like us, then being accused and dying for us.
For me, it's not much different. It means letting go of what I believe my "rights" are. It means thinking of the needs of others before my own. And yes, it sounds easier reading it than actually doing it. Denying myself comforts for the sake of someone else isn't typically my first impulse.
There is action required of me in order to live like Jesus, and it begins with not thinking of myself first. The secret of humility is this: the moment you recognize you're being humble, you aren't.
The thing that should drive us to this kind of action is love. That is what brought Jesus to us in the first place. God's love for us is so fierce, He made a way so we weren't separated from Him.
He sent Jesus as a babe, born in a filthy, smelly barn.
Those who heard about Jesus being born were inspired by passion and hope. They marveled at Him.
Don't ever allow the coming of Jesus (first or second) to grow stale in your heart. Keep that flame burning by continuously seeking after Him and recognizing your real need for Him.
How to Bear Good Fruit
John the Baptist was in the wilderness when the word of God came to him. That's when he began preaching to the people.
And what did he preach? Not that God had a plan for your life. Not that you can live your best life now. Not that God wants you to be happy or take away all your pain and problems or bless you with riches. No.
He told the people to REPENT. To BEAR FRUIT so you aren't thrown into the FIRE. To SHARE what you have.
It's intriguing to me to see John tell the people what they should do according to bear good fruit. Each one who asks, he replies to in a very personal way. To the tax collector, he said, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." (v. 13) To the soldiers, he said, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages." (v. 14)
And then there is Herod, who was not happy to be rebuked for all His evils and it made him want to put John in prison. Why is that?
Because some reject the truth of their own sin. They don't want to be told they are doing wrong and turn from their wicked ways. That's the simple reality of it. Not much has changed today.
Bearing fruit is precisely that -- turning from sin (repenting) and loving others like yourself and putting them over your own desires.
Just as John gave specific ways to avoid being "cut down and thrown into the fire", what specific way can you grow fruit in your life that needs to be addressed?
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