(Part 51)




November 6, 2012

Today’s reading: Philippians 2:5-11



We are called to follow and imitate Christ. We are to “have among (ourselves) the same attitude that is also (ours) in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). That is a very challenging call. Many look to the joy and blessings of following Jesus, and those certainly will be there. But many miss out on the very crux of Jesus’ life and work. It is going to the cross where he won salvation for us all.

As we are called to follow Jesus, as we are called to be like him, as we are called to carry on his work of salvation, then inevitably we will encounter the cross. Unfortunately this is when many give up, lie low, veer away, or reject what God offers. This is indeed unfortunate, since the cross is always the prelude to and precondition for glory.


What for us is the way of the cross, in the example of Jesus?

First, Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” (Phil 2:6). We do not cling to authority, position, power or privilege. Leaders are servants. Those who are first must be last of all. The greatest is the least. We come not to be served but to serve.

Second, Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave” (Phil 2:7a). Jesus has purchased us at the cost of his precious blood, and we belong to him. We are mere slaves and have no personal rights or privileges. We exist to serve our Master. We try not to stand in God’s way with our pride, selfishness and stubbornness. We empty ourselves so that God can fill us up.

Third, Jesus “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8). We go where God tells us to go, we do what God tells us to do. We do not insist on our own directions or priorities. We are submitted to God’s authority through the elders He places over us. We are ready to give our all, even our very lives. We rejoice in the cross of Christ.


What was the result of Jesus’ attitude? “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil 2:9). When we do not seek glory, God bestows it upon us. When God knows we can handle spiritual success, He pours it all out and allows us to do greater things. When we have been emptied, we are filled with all good things that come from God.

Further, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those 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.” (Phil 2:10-11). This is what we hope to achieve in our life and service. We evangelize and go on mission, proclaiming the salvation of Jesus. We want all to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

This can only happen as we become instruments formed in Christ.


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