Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death--
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Read this passage a few times over and picture Jesus, the Son of God becoming man. Think about how the very God who created the world also became man to walk on the very Earth you walk on every day.
We are currently a month into the year and likely are already failing at resolutions, or we didn’t make any and continue in whatever vein we were in at the end of last year. However, what if instead of having a self-focus- how we can improve, where we fall short, and what we want- we followed the example of Christ and humbled ourselves submitting to the Father’s will? This is not to say our resolutions or goals are misplaced, but instead to suggest that this New Year we set our sights higher.
Theologian Watchman Nee wrote in his The Spiritual Man, “For the moment will you please not look at your experience, but just harken to what God says to you. If you do not listen to His Word and instead look daily upon your situation, you will never enter into the reality of your flesh having been crucified on the cross.” Often our striving leads us away from the simplicity of the Gospel- the truth that our God is working something miraculous through us and that we are meant only to submit. As in the example of Christ, our submission may carry us through disgrace, pain, and rejection, however we are assured that the end result will be better than anything we could have accomplished and will glorify our Lord.
Last month, at the Winter Youth Retreat, we discussed the topic of “consumption” and how God has the power to help us not be consumed by the things around us, but instead be consumed by a desire for Him and His will for our lives. That is what we see modeled by Christ.
Look back at the passage above. In the text, Paul quoted these verses, which were an old hymn, now called the Christological hymn. Imagine these words being sung. Consider memorizing one of the verses and carrying it along without through the day, like those who would have sung it in the Early Church.
Questions for consideration:
Why do you think Paul instructs the Philippians to consider Christ’s example particularly in relationships with others?
How would our relationships look different if we followed this example?
Practically, what does it look like for us as human beings to follow Christ’s example of humility and sacrifice?
What about for you personally? Is there anything you feel the Lord is speaking in your life that you should, as Watchman Nee says, “harken to,” or pay close attention to?