“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! 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 2:5-11 (NIV)
As we have been seeing together (again or for the very first time), the sacrificial suffering and death of our Master accomplished so much! Their power and effects carry on to this time and place even though they took place so long ago and so far away. As our brother Paul pointed out to the disciples in the city of Philippi, though, our Master’s willingness to sacrifice was not limited to the cross. No, it began in His choice to come into human flesh and blood in the first place. It was in His choice to become a lowly servant among us when He was rightfully sharing glory with the Father as One who was “in very form God”.
All of this is meant to profoundly affect our viewpoint about ourselves and others. As you read Philippians 2, you see that Paul brought up our Master’s example in order to reinforce what he had already written about valuing one another above ourselves. He was using the attitude of Jesus, our greatest and highest picture of human righteousness, to illustrate the attitude we ought to have toward each other.
Humbling ourselves and looking to others’ interests rather than our own can be very difficult for us, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! Yet, as we focus our minds on what Master Jesus did, we are moved to follow His lead. Notice the specific points Paul brought out: “He made Himself nothing” (literally, “emptied Himself”) and “He humbled Himself”. But remember who He was when He made these choices. How far down He had to stoop to do what we needed Him to do!
The example laid out for us here is not just what was sacrificed, however. Paul couldn’t very well end his review of Christ’s story there. No, he went on to remind us that the result of our Master’s supreme humility and sacrifice was His supreme exaltation by the Father. He was given the highest place and the highest name. Disciple, this is so unbelievably exciting: when our Father calls you to humble yourself to serve others and sacrifice for their good, He is at the very same time calling you to receive great honor and glory from Him forever. As He rewarded our Master, He will reward those who follow His lead. That is His kind way, and how joyfully we can embrace it!
Learning to take on the mindset of Jesus with you,