Thursday, December 27, 2012

EJ100 #2 Philippians 2:1-11

Today's Essential Jesus reading: Philippians 2:1-11.

Paul the apostle wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, which contains this passage describing the the mindset of Christ Jesus.

Paul first describes the mindset of a Christian:
  • like-minded with other Christians;
  • sharing the same love (for Jesus, for each other);
  • being united, of one mind, through the Holy Spirit;
  • not being driven by selfish ambition (not wanting success and achievement for oneself);
  • not being filled with vain conceit (not thinking one has achieved success already);
  • being humble so that others are valued above self;
  • not self-interested;
  • considering the welfare of others.
Paul commends the mindset of Jesus Christ as a model for Christians. Although Jesus was "in very nature God", he "did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage" (2:6).

Christians are not to struggle to equal God's divine nature (his glory, transcendence, omnipresence and omniscience, aseityimmutability etc). That was the sinful mistake Eve and Adam made when they partook of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3). However, Christians are to endeavour to be like God in the attributes of his persons; in this case, we are to be humble and obedient like Jesus.

Paul describes Jesus:
  • as to his nature, Jesus is God [see also John 1:1];
  • Jesus is equal with God;
  • yet Jesus did not take advantage of his equality with God (most obviously in his crucifixion [eg Matt 27:35-42], but also in Jesus' temptation at the beginning of his ministry [eg Matt 4:1-11]);
  • Jesus made himself nothing, by taking a second nature, that of a servant, a human;
  • Jesus was made in human likeness, appearing as a man;
  • Jesus made himself humble;
  • Jesus was obedient to the Father's will, even when this led to his death by crucifixion [eg Matt 26:38-39,42,44,45,50];
  • Because of his humble obedience, God exalted Jesus to the highest place, and gave him a name (identity) above every other.

Paul told the Philippians Jesus humbled himself so that at his name "every knee should bow (and) every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord" (2:10,11a) Ultimately, this obeisance and acknowledgement is "to the glory of God the Father" (2:11b).

I bring glory to God when I bow before Jesus, which I do by humbly submitting to Jesus' lordship over my life, every time I choose to obey God's will rather than my own selfish will. One example from my own life is that I am taking what time is necessary to study God's word closely so I can write this post now, rather than rushing out to spend money willy-nilly in the post-Christmas sales.

> How do you bow before Jesus?

I bring glory to God when I acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. I can do this in the comments I post on facebook, or by wearing a t-shirt with a Christian motto. But these are non-verbal acknowledgements that aren't made face-to-face with anyone.

Earlier this year I chose to publicly acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord by being baptised in front of a crowd of witnesses. I openly confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord.

More everyday opportunities to verbally acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Lord do occur. I will mention in conversation that I am a Christian, or that I have made a particular decision or taken a specific action because I follow Jesus Christ.

But often I am hesitant to proclaim the depth of my relationship with Jesus clearly in public. My lack of humility and my disobedience gets in the way, and I don't speak up like I should. So I hereby commit to humble obedience to God in the matter of to verbal acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as my Lord, as God gives me opportunities in the future!

> What will you do the next time you have the opportunity to tell someone that Jesus is your Lord?

Why do I love and worship Jesus?
I love Jesus because he chose to be humbly obedient to God, his Father, even when that meant he would die on a cross in agony and shame. I love him because he calls me to humble obedience which may or may not lead to my own pain and embarrassment - and he forgives me when I don't live up to the standard he has set.

Lord Jesus,
I am sorry that I haven't always been brave enough
to publicly confess you as my Lord.
Please help me to speak up in future,
prompting me when you give me opportunities.

Tomorrow's reading: Colossians 1:15-23.

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