Continued from here.
When you make the choice to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, you will begin the process of growing in humility. You will become less full of yourself, and that space will be replaced by more of God. God is love, joy, peace, and contentment, so you will experience those attributes progressively as you fill up with God,.
For example, my first big act of discipleship was setting aside the first hour of my day for God, no matter what. This one act of humility invited such a flood of God’s love that I remained on a “God high” for months! Forgiving my childhood abusers required a huge step in humility and brought me the peace I had been seeking for decades. As I humbled myself in my marriage, I experienced joy, peace, and contentment that was not there when I was full of myself.
The key to humility and discipleship is taking that first step. It feels unnatural to live for anyone but yourself, but when you take your focus off yourself and place it on God, an important shift takes place inside of you – your selfishness (pride) starts to shrink, making room for God. As you experience freedom from that first step, you become more willing to take the next step … and the next … and the next. It feels unnatural to “shrink yourself” to make room for God. However, that’s exactly what is needed so you can fill up with God and shine His light into the world.
To help me with this, I started looking for ways to defer my preferences. For example, I would purposely defer my preference for the more comfortable chair and offer it to someone else. I would choose the bruised banana so my husband could have the better fruit for his morning snack. While these are small acts of humility, they helped me chip away at my natural self-centeredness and value others above myself.
You cannot be a prideful disciple of Christ because Jesus was not prideful: he was humble. Transforming ourselves into the image of Christ requires us to develop humility. While humility feels unnatural, it’s the key to developing the fruit of the spirit.
[Graphic: Outline of body is filled with yellow to represent God. Cartoon of Grace fills roughly one-third of the space in the body outline, and a yellow heart is over Grace but much smaller than she is. Courtesy Bitmoji and Grace Daniels.]