Thursday 21 November, 2013
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wow, this is possibly one of the most challenging passages in the Bible. The standard is set incredibly high here – no selfish ambition, vain conceit or looking to your own interests first. Rather, imitate Christ by taking the nature of a servant, valuing others above myself and be willing to even to give your very life for others.
If there is a human alive that doesn’t find this challenging, I’d like to meet them!
I find that there is a rather odd tension in reading this set of instructions on how we should live, yet realising that I will never be able to fully live up to this while I am on this earth. Why am I being asked to do something that is impossible to achieve?
Although I aspire to these qualities, I know that there is only One who has ever attained this. And that is why God has exalted Jesus to the highest place.
I am inherently selfish. Oh how I need God’s help to be even remotely close to having the same love as Christ.
This is humbling, and perhaps the reason for this passage of scripture. To remind us how much we need God’s help and how we can never be ‘good enough’ to achieve our own salvation.
Today I am reminded that my knee is most definitely among those that bow at the name of Jesus!
Written by Shelley Witt
I love your honesty and insight.
For me, I have always liked this passage because you can distill it down to a form which you can use to quickly check your behavior in day to day life.
Thanks also Shelley for all your work with – Art on Loftus!