“I see a generation rising up to take their place, with selfless faith!”
These are the lyrics to the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong, which we sing frequently in our church worship service. I confess that the term, “selfless faith” puzzled me for a bit and got me thinking...what does it mean to have selfless faith? The more I have thought about it, the more I have come to love it.
Philippians 2:3-8 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 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, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Jesus is the perfect example of selfless, and He requires us to have the same attitude. He knew who He was, and He had faith in who He was. He didn’t doubt his position for a moment, yet He put His identity to the side for a while, and became a selfless servant.
So if we are supposed to have the same attitude as Christ, first that we recognize who we are in Him. Among other things, the Word tells us, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people...” I Peter 2:9. You see, we are called to be royalty, too. But that realization just means that we need to lay aside our own privileges, and humble ourselves as Jesus did.
While He was on the earth, Jesus helped a friend save face at a wedding, caused his friends (twice) to catch a load of fish that was more than they could haul in, fed 5,000 men and their families on one occasion and 4,000 men and their families on another, calmed a storm that would likely have killed his friends, paid his friend’s taxes, cast out demons, healed countless people, and even raised three people from the dead!
But I tell you what - He promised us that we will do even greater works than these if we BELIEVE ON HIM. (John 14:12.) What will it take to do even greater works than the amazing things that Jesus did on earth? Selfless faith. Jesus did not perform these miracles for His glory - in fact He repeatedly asked those He touched not to tell anyone. He knew who He was, but He laid it all down to serve.
In John 13 we read the account of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples just before he was to be arrested and crucified. I don’t know about you, but I think I might’ve spent my last moments before my murder a bit differently, but Jesus isn’t like me. Verse 3 says that He knew who He was, that He came from God and He would return to God. So knowing that, what did He do? He laid it aside once more, and “He loved [His own] until the end.” (Verse 1) He loved them by washing their feet, but it was more than that. He loved them by setting the example that they were to follow - the example of selfless faith. This example is for us as well.
May we be like Jesus and lay aside out royal identity, take up an unshakeable faith, and become selfless servants.