In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
I love these words, and I am challenged by them. Paul’s poem about Jesus’ descent to an earthly human life and exaltation back to his rightful place in God’s glory speaks deeply into my soul. But it’s the first line that forces me to consider my own faltering efforts to live like Jesus. In my relationships with other people, I need to have the same mindset as Jesus, the same attitude of selflessness, the same willingness to sacrifice, the same heart of compassion, the same humble give-it-all-away servant’s heart.
Human ideas and words cannot adequately express certain spiritual truths. We can’t describe God’s glory, even if we could behold it. We can’t explain how we feel joy in the midst of suffering. We can’t comprehend or put into words what it was like for Jesus to feel forsaken by his Father on the cross. And we certainly cannot fathom what it meant for Jesus to make himself “nothing.” He left behind the glories of heaven, chose to be a servant to sinful humanity, and gave himself over to death on a cross. Jesus is the perfect, most pure example of self-giving love the world has ever known.
And we are called to think, act and speak like him. That’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus: we follow his example, we live the way he did. We know, even at our very best, we could never truly live up to his perfection, and that’s exactly the point of grace. God loves us anyway. Jesus made himself nothing and died for us because we are not able to be perfect or to save ourselves. So, we give thanks for God’s grace, and we set our hearts on following Jesus, as best and as often as we possibly can.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming into this broken world to love and serve and die for me. Help me to treat others how You treat me. Teach me to give, serve and love in humility so others can know who You are. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian