Our society clamors so loudly for it. It seems so noble, and patriotic. After all, is it not written in our American Constitution that all men are created equal?
The problem is this nobility isn’t what is fueling the changes we are seeing in our culture. Not a selfless desire to see everyone raised up, but a desire to have everyone brought down to our level. Having everyone equal to me is another way of saying no one is better than me.
I don’t have to be jealous of someone having more than I do. I don’t have to envy those who are “better” than me. We are all equal. Taken to the extreme, it leads us into the world we see in Lois Lowry’s book, The Giver.
I’m not saying that is where we will end up, but we’re fooling ourselves if we think we are so great for esteeming equality, what is more, this isn’t what the Bible would have us do. Consider:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:3-8
Just reading this passage again, I am struck by how insane, how alien, this idea is when compared with the humanistic worldview we are bombarded with every day in our culture.
Jesus was equal with God! He was God! Yay equality! I’m sure equality is very, very important in the Trinity, no? God the Father is probably always trying to gain more power and glory to Himself, and Jesus has to struggle to show that He is an equal. Perhaps Jesus held some protests, or maybe created an “International Jesus Day” to remind the world that He is just as equal. Maybe Jesus has to start a new hashtag to remind people to say His name just as much in their prayers as the Father.
Yeah. No. This very image is pretty ridiculous, right? How pathetic would the Trinity be if this was the case? Thankfully, we see something far greater, far more beautiful than a mere system of checks and balances to ensure that all in the group are equal.
Jesus did not strive to advance Himself. He was humble and modest. He made himself nothing. Nothing! He made Himself a servant, and took orders from death—death on a cross! This is humiliating and demeaning! Not equality!
This is because we aren’t to be seeking our own promotion.
Not only should we not consider ourselves better than others, but we shouldn’t even consider ourselves just as good as others.
As Paul points out, we should imitate Jesus, and make ourselves nothing, and the servants of others. We should “value others above [ourselves].”
This is crazy, and yet this is what Jesus, the Son of God, did for us. Try and wrap your mind around that for a second. The most powerful being in existence, the creator of the entire universe…considered you, I, every human individual, as being more valuable than Himself. So valuable in fact, that He was willing to make Himself our servant, suffer torture, and eventually death for us.
This is what we’re supposed to do for our fellow man. Wow. That’s scary. That doesn’t sound very good, does it? Equality sounds much better! I’m okay with not seeing myself as better than other people, but can’t I at least consider no one else as being more important than me?
Nope, we don’t get to do that as Christians. We were bought at the highest possible price, and our allegiance is to Christ, and He calls us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). This means we are to love as He loved, considering others as more important than ourselves, not seeking to elevate ourselves, but to diminish ourselves to servants.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we walk around with a false humility and belittle ourselves. That would just be another form of pride. The focus is still on ourselves. Rather, what Paul is saying, what Jesus did, is totally abandon the self–forsaking the pursuit of the self, and instead seeking the good of others. In this way, we are to treat others as more important than ourselves–not envying them for being “better” than us, but giving others priority over ourselves.
Perhaps this could even mean physically dying for others, as Jesus did. More likely, it will mean living for others. As Paul described, “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
This is not where things will end, however. The last shall become first, and that is exactly what was the result of Jesus’ perfect love.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11
So, the battle cry should NOT be equality. We should NOT seek to advance and promote ourselves, but others. We should not be saying, “You are my equal,” but rather, “You are better.” This is something I greatly struggle with. It’s so easy to get caught up in the deception that the world revolves around me, but thinking in such a way isn’t the best way for me to live, never-mind the fact that it is not a good mindset to have when interacting with others.
Think for a moment how drastically our world would change if we all began to live this way. What if we all started to consider others as being more important than ourselves? What if Christians lived this way? What if we at least lived this way among our friends and families? We would be able to experience a taste of the life to come.