Well: we all know about “Upwardly Mobile” – the definition of which the English Dictionary describes as “(of a person or social group) moving or aspiring to move to higher social class or to a position of increased status or power.”
WOW!! so to be “Upwardly Mobile” we need to move up through the social classes to become richer and more powerful – exactly what the world out there loves to teach us so so often.
With a background in Human Resources, I have seen “Upwardly Mobile” in action – it never ceases to amaze and astound me. It’s all in the way you present yourself, your social background, who you ‘mix’ with and of course your inextinguishable ambition.
Being ‘upwardly mobile’ is a pre-requisite for challenging those who seemingly have ‘made it’ to the top – whatever ‘the top’ may be. For ladies the ‘crashing’ of the glass ceiling is another ‘must do’ experience for the upwardly mobile female and proving ‘girls can do anything’ to many ‘chauvinist male upwardly mobile’ men.
So often in today’s society of eyes on the goal, success at any cost type world, being upwardly mobile is integral for success and security for the future.
We instil being ‘upwardly mobile’ to our children very early in their upbringing, challenging them to succeed to push on regardless and never to accept second best.
So the word “DOWN” really has no place in the Upwardly Mobile’s world or future.
“DOWN” is a word reserved for losers – it should be avoided at all costs and even if you are feeling a little ‘down’ you dare not show it lest the person directly beneath you on the never-ending ladder will pull it out from under you.
“DOWN” is a word that reflects on everything it touches – like down-hearted, down-trodden and downfall. It’s a sort of ‘says-it-all’ word with connotations of desperation and depression. Something Upwardly Mobile wants nothing to with at all!
So looking at the words UP and DOWN from a world’s perspective, UP is the ONLY direction to go. UP denotes GREATNESS – DOWN denotes FAILURES.
So how does God see us with our UP’S and DOWN’S? I was reading Philippians 2 and being “Upwardly Mobile” sort of flies in the face of what Jesus is teaching us here.
Philippians 2 screams at us that if you want to be truly great, then the direction to go is DOWN. Jesus taught us that self-will needs to be thumped on the head and self-abandonment needs to be the measure that we determine our success.
Paul continues in Philppians 2 to explain, in no uncertain terms, that the ONLY way to become great with God is to actually move down – become the servant, the downtrodden, the anonymous one.
Jesus, the servant of all, is the only example we can look to. Here we have the Creator of the universe, coming ‘down’ from his glory, becoming a helpless and hapless baby in a dirty stable and from then on it was a life of descending.
He had no home, he was mocked and ridiculed, he was spat on, he was found guilty of blasphemy and died a cruel and criminal’s death – probably THE worst death in it’s day. Hardly UPWARDLY MOBILE.
Jesus: the very highest in creation came DOWN to serve the lowest – Philippians 2: 7-8 “He (Jesus) made Himself nothing, but 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.”
After Jesus died he could go no lower – the one who possessed everything became nothing – He became ‘DOWNWARDLY MOBILE’ to the glory of God the Father who exalted Him above everyone and everything.
Please don’t take me wrongly – God really has no problem with his children bettering themselves – he loves to see us succeed BUT….
What concerns Him and breaks His heart is when our UPWARD MOBILITY bolsters our own self-importance. Building ourselves up to the point of pushing our own plans, schedules and programmes with no thought of God, living life as we please in our own worlds of self-indulgence.
Of course God knows that self-indulgence only leads to self-destruction.
James hits the nail on the head when he writes “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” Humility, putting others first, purposely standing aside and letting others take the limelight – all things that God loves.
Making ourselves lesser and making others greater is foolishness in the eyes of the world yet God asks us to LOSE so that we may GAIN. God will honour us if we deliberately SMASH our selfish ambition, He will honour us if we LOSE our obsession to be in control, he will honour us if we actually LOSE our life in Him because He promises us ETERNITY!!
Being DOWNWARDLY MOBILE with God is certainly not easy – it can be unsettling to say the least BUT actually is the THE very highest calling we can ever have.
God bless you this week as you address being DOWNWARDLY MOBILE with God. Let Him be your guide as you submit to the challenge that Jesus Himself put out there and which Paul so clearly defines in Philippians 2.
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