I heard a message on Sunday that changed me. It’s still changing me. It will forever keep changing me.
It’s about what’s important in life and has everything to do with going by faith, but when I first read it in the Bible I didn’t understand.
Philippians 2:5-11 is about Christ’s example, and maybe that’s why it seemed hard. Being human, it’s not easy to grasp the mind of Jesus. It’s not easy to realize the divine capacity of never-ending and all-powerful love since it’s impossible for us on our own.
But Paul unfolds it for us. He takes us to a whole different level so that we might only come close to grasping this point–and maybe even living it–by God’s grace and spirit.
If you’ve been wondering what’s important in life, there is finally an answer. Let’s begin — it’s worth it.
Don’t Compare with Others, Compare with Jesus Christ
We read verses in the Bible and think “I know someone who needs to learn from this verse!” We might even feel good about ourselves in those moments, thinking how we have done well in that area compared to this other person. OK, this is exactly not the point.
Comparing ourselves to another human is absolutely useless. Growing closer to God has nothing to do with it.
Philippians 2:5 starts out by saying “In your life, you must think and act like Christ Jesus.”
If that doesn’t humble all of us completely, Paul explains it for utter clarity.
“Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit.” (v.6)
How often we say things like “I don’t deserve this.” How often we stew and linger in feelings of hurt, anger and resentment. We want justice! We want someone or something to see us and pay attention and do something about it! “What about me??”
Then there is Jesus, who, being God, … who, loving us without end, could have said every step of the way, “I don’t deserve this” … but didn’t. He never used that to his own advantage; he never used his status of King of Kings to force others into seeing it his way.
He let go of his priveleges and humbled himself completely. We are called to think and act like Jesus Christ.
What Humble Means — Keep Going!
“But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant.”
There are many different translations of this, but to be clear, Jesus didn’t “empty” himself of his diety. He emptied himself of his rights and priveleges. He gave himself over fully as the perfect and holy sacrifice. He told us that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. Mission: Others.
This is humble. There’s more.
“And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death — death on a cross.” (v.8) He wasn’t crucified on a golden cross with a king’s crown. He didn’t die a proud death — he died in suffering, nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns.
Jesus Christ is God… and he humbled himself from King of Kings to man, from man to servant, from servant to death on a cross.
The mark of our Christian maturity is coming closer and closer to having the mind of Christ. This is what’s most important in life.
See It for Yourself
This is how the message spoke to me, but please watch this sermon alone, with your family, with a friend who needs encouragement… share it with anyone who will listen: Oneness: Christ’s Example. I attended this sermon and tears just poured out of my eyes. Many gave their life to Christ this day. AMEN!!!!
Watch the sermon. It may be the best thing you do to start off this year. See you next week.
Photo Credit. Thank you!
Good advice, and so hard to follow for us mere mortals!
Jennifer Johns says
I know, it’s no small thing… “In your life, you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” It’s not like “you should” but “you must.” !!
This teaching is taking it to a whole new level for me. Not easy but awesome.
toni birdsong says
I like these thoughts, it’s where my mind has been lately. You wrote: “How often we say things like “I don’t deserve this.” How often we stew and linger in feelings of hurt, anger and resentment.”
Truth is, we don’t deserve the slights, the hurts, the injustices. We deserve hell. Our feelings of pride or “entitlement” keep us from going deeper into the many layers of true humility. But getting to the cross and staying there a while . . . thinking of what really went down. That’s the best place to start. Thanks for a great post. 🙂
Jennifer Johns says
Thanks @Toni. I agree that our pride keeps us from the deepest layers of true humility — and yet when we get down, when we get humble, we find more and more of Jesus. A true journey.
I look forward to hearing more from you!
I read one of your posts about being better spouses instead of bitter ones. Thanks for sharing faith with people me and my wife really appreciate it.
And if you feel free to answer I would like to ask you if you are catholic, please don’t offend it is not my intention Im just asking in order to post and comment you with all respect you deserve.
God bless you.
Hi Jennifer.. I’m new to your website and I am truly grateful for having found it! Your messages as well as the comments are so encouraging. Thanks so much!