Well “next time” ended being quite some time. I appreciate your patience and pray you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Karen and I had a quiet one at home, enjoying the weekend. We look forward to Christmas when both the girls will be home, including our son-in-law Ben and our precious grandson Benjamin.
So we left off trying to envision how a humbled life looks like. You’ve no doubt already guessed whose life we can look at, yet let’s read our Scripture passage for today:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus has set quite the example of the humbled life. He left His royal habitat, heaven, and came to earth to make “Himself of no reputation” and He willingly took “the form of a bondservant”, being willing to come “in the likeness of men.” If you are having a hard time envisioning what this would mean, think of a loved one in heaven today and ask yourself if he or she would rather be here on earth. I didn’t think so.
Jesus, to sum this passage up, gave up His kingly rights. So many sinful indulgences today are wrapped up in the notion of rights. We as Christians must guard ourselves from proclaiming rights to ourselves if we are to model Christlikeness. The spiritual thorn in my flesh is my pride and if I do not guard my heart I will perpetually suffer the sin of offense, harming others around me as well.
When I feel offended I must remember the offender’s heart. If they are a loved one or close friend, understand that maybe they did not say it in the best way, but you know their heart is in the right place. If they are someone who is lost, then you are dealing with a heart that desperately needs Jesus. You have to be Jesus to that person.
Additionally, while I should not be easily offended, I should also guard against being offensive myself. Jesus was bold no doubt, yet He was not offensive. He did not use His words to hurt, which He equated to murder. I must be careful of what I say. I have to die to myself if I wish to be humbled like my Lord. Our old friend Matthew Henry puts it this way:
“The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendor: His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn.”
No doubt you’re thinking, “Wow, where do I sign up!?” Agreed, but if you think it’s hard for us, imagine what it must have been like for King Jesus. But He knew He was doing His Father’s will. He also knew that not only would His Heavenly Father exalt Him, but also those who hate and scorn, along with every human being ever born would one day bow to Him.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers