Tuesday, March 23, 2004
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
- Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
- Philippians 2:1-18, niv
I read this passage yesterday, and it's clinging to me this morning - ever had that happen? I've read it before, heard sermons on it, preached sermons on it, led Bible studies through it - and not it's not letting go, again. I tried to pare off some of it so this post wouldn't be so long, but I couldn't. I want to look at the call to obedience that involves not whining and being an encouragement, but I couldn't remove the exaltation of Jesus from the charge to live as He intended. I can dig deeper into what it means to obey, what it means to be holy and set apart and fruitful for the kingdom. But I don't think I can do it without also trembling at the thoughts expressed concerning His holiness, His obedience, His suffering, His being lifted up.
If you've been reading along this year, you'll know that I've already been dealing with humility and pride. This passage wraps both of those up in who Christ is, how my identity with Him should now play out. Amazing how natural this "journey" is falling together, at least as much as I'm following the "course syllabus".