He Will Lift Us Up | Philippians 2:3-11
Philippians 2:3-11 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.
Among theologians, this portion of Scripture is often called the “Kenosis” passage. This description comes from the Greek word—kenosis—in verse 7 translated “made himself nothing” or, in some translations, “emptied” himself. The word means “to render void or invalid.” It is important to note that Jesus never lost or forfeited His deity. While on earth He was fully God, fully man. But he voluntarily set aside the powers of His deity in order to accomplish His mission on earth. That mission included taking on the very nature of a servant all the way to the cross. The point of the passage is this: We should have that same attitude of humility.
Recently, I had the privilege of going with 48 people to an 11-day mission’s trip to Panama. On our last night there, Mirco Delibasich, the missionary whom we support, challenged us with this passage. He noted that following God will often take us out of our comfort zone. Just like Jesus, following God may take us places we would rather not be. Just like Jesus, following God may lead to persecution, and even death. And just like Jesus, we must be willing to set aside our personal desires and advantages to accomplish the mission that God has for us.
So here are the questions: Is your attitude the same as that of Christ Jesus? Are you willing to set aside your “position” and take on a servant’s role? Are you willing to render your authority void for the sake of Jesus? Are you willing to follow Him into persecution and even death? Because Jesus was willing to make Himself nothing, God exalted Him and “gave Him the name that is above every name.” While that position is reserved only for Jesus, we can be sure that if we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, in due time, He will lift us up (1 Peter 5-6).
Father, may we live like Jesus. May we have the same attitude He had. May we render all our positions and privileges void for the sake of serving you and your people. May you, not us, be the One who lifts us up! In Christ’s Name, Amen