Go around the life group and ask each person to finish the end of the following statement…
“I could change or influence the world if only…”Traits of the Trinity
The Apostles Creed describes three members of the Trinity who existed in unity of essence, but trinity in substance and purpose. Characteristically the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each hold the innate attributes belonging to God alone:Omniscient
– the state of knowing everything (All-knowing)Omnipotent
– having unlimited power (All-powerful)Omnipresent
– the property of being present anywhere and everywhere (All-present)
In summary, God is by nature ‘transcendent,’
which means he is exceedingly above all creature or created being. Yet distinctly, we see one of the members of the trinity, for a specific time and purpose, become ‘immanent,’
which means he come close and existed among us. God the Father, sent his Son Jesus to earth, to reveal his nature and his purpose to us.
Leader to read the passage, and get the LG to consider what it tells us about who God is? and about God’s plan to influence the world?Philippians 2:3-11 (NLT) 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Each of us usually carry within us pre-conceived ideas of who do we think we need to BE
, what do we think we need to DO
, or what resources we think we need to HAVE
, to change or influence the world.
Jesus fully understood his identity and his status as the Son of God, having all of these divine attributes of knowledge, power and capacity, yet he and did not consider that equality as something that needed to be clung to, but rather he relinquished his rights, forgoed his entitlements, did not defend his title, position or authority, instead he “Humbled himself,”
and became human. Matthew 20:28 says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Humility means to be “low to the ground.” The very concept of humbling oneself, means to lower oneself from a height. Jesus did this because he was secure in his identity, and because he knew where he gets his exaltation from.
Yet so often we find ourselves in our everyday life doing the opposite.
We try to cling to our positions, exercise our authority, establish our equality, display our knowledge, flaunt our capacity, defend our rights and uphold our reputations..
When we do these things, it usually reveals a sense of insecurity in our identity.
We can so easily fall into two traps of insecurity, and we tend to oscillate between both, we either: We think too LITTLE
of ourselves or think too MUCH
There is behavioural phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome
, which is simply an inner belief that “I don’t belong here,” “I am not qualified,” “I’m not good enough.”
People tend to compensate for these inner feelings of self-doubt in one of two ways:1. Imposter Syndrome – False Humility
By publicly expressing that self-doubt, using self-depreciation, demonstrating low-self-esteem. We do this by making ourselves “small” instead of making ourselves “low.”
E.g., Minimise accomplishments, deflect complements, downplay strengths and abilities.
- What are some other ways that you personally fall into the trap of False Humility?
- What is the underlying motivation for why I do this?
- Do I do it out of self-doubt and insecurity? Or do I even do it as a subtle way of trying to get others to compliment me, whilst appearing humble?
Each of us to be able to become aware of the subtle ways insecurity can rear its head, and how easily it can lead to false humility.. or also arrogance.
So what does this look like? Because we’re all susceptible to both!
Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”2. Imposter Syndrome – Pride
Trying to convince ourselves and others that we belong, are qualified and competent enough, usually by over-extenuating our abilities. Either “thinking too much of ourselves” or “try to get others to think highly of us too.”
Where we live our lives looking for people to affirm that “we are somebody,” however we define it. This can manifest in different ways for each of us:
Seen as “someone of STATUS”
Whatever rooms you walk into you look around the room for the most important, or popular person in the room, get their attention, or have a conversation. Then in those conversations we start to name drop the people we know or that know us, and somehow by association their position or status will elevate your own by association. So in pride, we can overlook other people we think are less than us, we don’t listen well or pay proper them attention, instead of looking at them in the eyes, we’re looking over their should to see if someone else is more important to talk to.
Seen as “someone IMPORTANT”
In our culture, “busyness equals important” so instead being present and valuing the people in front of you, you’re constantly on the move, checking your phones, your emails, and have always got something better to do, or somewhere better to be.
Seen as “someone SUCCESSFUL”
You over-inflate your capabilities and our achievements so that you appear better than what you are. We’ve all done this in resume’s before, exaggerating what we write on our resume’s, saying that we’re the Founder of our own company, but if we’re honest the holder of an instagram page with 12 followers and zero profits.
Seen as “someone INTELLIGENT”
Winning respect from people for your knowledge, degrees, or ideas. Perhaps you prefer working alone because when the project succeeds and goes well, you will get all the credit. Or perhaps when you are in teams, you rally support your own ideas and solutions, but insecurely criticise others ideas and perspectives.
Seen as “someone POWERFUL”
In your work, family or church setting, using your leadership position to assert your authority over people, and in pride leading people by talking down to them, telling them what to do, needing to control the situation, micromanaging, instead of releasing or serving those we lead.
Seen as “someone STRONG”
Instead of weak, so instead of acknowledging you’re feeling unwell, or that your mental health is declining, that finances are tight, relationships are breaking down, we keep it to ourselves, we don’t let other people into the ways in which we’re struggling, and we keep powering on and in pride, to uphold our reputation rather than receiving the help and care we need.
- How do you want to be seen or known by other people?
- Which trap are you most likely to fall into and how does this manifest in your own life?
As Christians our challenge is to resist the temptation to extenuate our knowledge, leverage our power and over-estimate our capacity, to become God-like, and instead we are to humble ourselves, and be Christ-like.
- Insecure people pridefully prove themselves to others
- Secure people silently humble themselves for others
Matthew 23:12 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Christian maturity begins by rightly recognising that God is, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, he is the Almighty God. And I am but dust, fragile, limited and mortal, “I am nothing.”
Yet simultaneously hold the understanding that in God’s eyes, we are the crowning glory of his creation, we are made God’s image, have inherent dignity and are designed for greatness, therefore “I am enough.”
Consequently, True Humility is Godly confidence
– standing securely in your gifts, strengths, and positions of influence as vehicles for displaying God’s glory through you.
What does it look like for us to take on a new posture of humility and lowliness in our everyday lives?1 Peter 5:5-7 “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. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Pray together for God to dislodge false humility or pride in our hearts, so that we can replicate Jesus example of true humility.