When the clerk at the store or the waiter at the restaurant provides poor customer service I have been upset and indignant. That is the natural thing to do.
I grew up in the customer service world. Ingrained into my psyche is to put the customer first. When I don’t get the service I was trained to give then I notice. Our natural inclination is to not care what another person thinks or what crisis they are going through.
But what if that inattentive clerk is trying to feed three kids at home, her husband has just abandoned her, and there’s too much month left at the end of the paycheck?
Real joy, that is, happiness not based on happenstance, does not come from acting from our natural inclination or demanding our own way.
What would it take for your joy to be complete? The apostle Paul in the “Joy Letter” to the Philippians said, “Complete my joy.” (Philippians 2:2) He gives several practices which will do that. Here’s one of them.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
When I let pride be my guide, then it becomes all about me. Pride say, “I couldn’t care less what that clerk is thinking or feeling.” But the opposite of pride is humility, but what is it?
Humbling ourselves is not thinking we are a ‘zip,’ a ‘nobody,’ or a worthless person, but seeing others as valuable. It is not putting ourselves down, but building others up. It is not so much what you think of yourself, but what you think of others. It is not denying your strengths but being honest about your weaknesses.
In the Bible God gives more promises connected to humbling ourselves than any other activity except being generous. Humble people are promised God’s presence, power, and peace. God promises His prosperity and to honor those who choose humility over pride.
Our culture promotes just the opposite attitude. It screams, “indulge yourselves!” The popular Frank Sinatra hit exclaimed, “I did it MY way!”
What a surprising source of complete joy! Humility, who would have thought? Acting opposite of our natural inclination brings real joy.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”
Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.