THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST
Lord, I understand the spiritual value of humility.
Read PHILIPPIANS 2:5–11
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature 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 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God… should make the pioneer of their salvation [Jesus] perfect through what he suffered” (Heb. 2:10).
Paul now presents the supreme example for imitation. This magnificent “Christ hymn” probably originated in the early church. It may have been composed for Christological reasons (i.e., related to the person and work of Christ), but Paul uses it for an ethical purpose, presenting Christ as the ultimate model of moral behavior. The Christ hymn consists of two parts: humility at the incarnation and crucifixion; and exaltation in the resurrection and ascension.
In verses 3 and 4, Paul urges the Philippian believers humbly to consider the interests of others; here, in verses 6–8, he describes how Christ did precisely that. Unlike Adam, who tried to grasp something that was not his (equality with God), Christ did not take advantage of what was his, but poured himself out (literally “emptied himself”) for the sake of humanity. The idea is not so much Christ setting aside something but rather manifesting the “form” of God in the “form” (6,7, NIV notes) of a slave, the lowliest of human beings, in order to serve us on a cross. Imitating Christ means that every position we hold should become a position of service.
The depth of Christ’s humiliation is matched by the height of his cosmic exaltation. Verses 9–11 are not about God making Jesus into something he was not before (he always was the pre-existent, divine Son) but about elevating him to a place of supreme honor and lordship over the universe. The humiliated, crucified Christ is the exalted, cosmic Christ—worthy of worship. Likewise, Christ’s becoming a slave was not a temporary status or role but the taking on of a permanent, new identity. Serving others in humility and with their interest at heart is not something to be done occasionally; rather, it should become second nature to us because we became servants when we said yes to him.
The world entices us to climb the socioeconomic ladder. Instead, are we willing to scale back and follow our downwardly-mobile Lord?
Lord, my knee bows to You voluntarily now rather than under duress on the other side.