She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.—Luke 2:7
The Lord of the universe could have picked anywhere for Jesus to be born. That raises the question of why God picked a humble dwelling where animals were housed and fed—possibly a stable, although it could have been a cave or even a guest room in a relative’s house.
We all need to have faith in ourselves—or rather faith that God is in us and that He can use us. Since God uses individuals to do His work, we have to believe that we’re capable. We need faith in His ability to perform and work through us. We must dare to try, which means allowing God to try through us.
We are weak and faulty, but our God is invincible. We are earthen vessels, yet as we commit our lives and hearts to Him, He becomes one with us and can work through us. “The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things.”1
“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”—Luke 2:8 NIV
When I was a child, one of my favorite pictures of Jesus depicted Him as the Good Shepherd, carrying a lamb around His shoulders. If you’re like me, you might have expected that those shepherds watching their flocks on the hillside the night He was born would have been respected members of society, considered honest, dependable, believable witnesses, trustworthy and upright. Why else would the angels have entrusted them with such an important message as testifying of the coming of God’s Son?
You may not feel great or as if you have hero-like qualities of your own; even the apostle Paul lamented, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”1 Yet God can make more of us than we are, if we avail ourselves of the help of His Son, Jesus. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2
I like the definition of meekness that’s in my Bible dictionary. It says meekness is “an attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward men, springing from a recognition that God is in control.” It is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.
This kind of meekness is having faith and peace, because you know God’s in control. You can be mild and quiet of nature, because you’re full of faith. You have the assurance that God’s going to work things out no matter how incredibly overwhelming or desperate the situation might be.
God instructs us to be meek and humble in our dealings with others …
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.—Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle.—1 Timothy 6:11 CEV
Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little more humble, but oh, how we hate to be humbled! That hurts our pride, but that kind of pain is good for us if we can welcome it and let it accomplish its purpose. Remember the mantra of Olympians: No pain, no gain!
1. Look for the best in people. Everyone has had some experience you haven’t had and is therefore your superior in that respect. As the American scholar and author George Herbert Palmer (1842–1933) said, “I am defeated, and know it, if I meet any human being from whom I find myself unable to learn anything.”
Let’s take a look at how Jesus’ character is manifested through some of the key events in His life.
Born in a barn
[Mary] wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.—Luke 2:7 ESV
Question: I want to get along well with others and be liked, but often I don’t know where to begin. How can I build strong connections with people?
Answer: Here are some tips to get you started. The point is not to pretend to be something you’re not, but to make a conscious effort to cultivate qualities that will make people feel at ease and be happy to be around you.
People don’t have to be perfect in order to deserve our love. They don’t have to be faultless or easy to like or get along with. That’s a good thing, because none of us are all those things all the time; none of us are perfect. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to show one another love and understanding. “All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”1