We had talked about God’s counter-intuitive ways for people to experience joy in the posts, “I Just Wanna Be Happy!!”, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-kK. In Phil. 2:5, we see Paul is revealing to the Philippians another tip to experiencing joy in serving. He says, You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
WHAT WAS JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD SERVING?
He humbled Himself, not clinging to His rights as God, and taking the form of a servant. – v.6-7 Mark, in Mark 10:44-45, puts it this way – whoever wants to be first among you must be the servant of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others.
IS GOD’S ATTITUDE DIFFERENT FROM THE “WORLD’S” ATTITUDE?
I think the answer would be a definite YES!!
As I think about the way schools, businesses, and various organizations measure success and HAPPINESS, it seems that the world connects success and HAPPINESS with personal achievement.
Whereas, when we look at the counter-intuitive teaching of Jesus, He encourages people to look for ways to be a blessing to others, connecting service with success and JOY.
YEAH, BUT WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS? WHAT I DESERVE?
Remember from v.6, Jesus did not cling to His rights as God.
Here are a couple of examples of our “rights” —
- “I can have an abortion. It’s my body, and I have a “right” to decide what I want to do.”
- “I worked hard to earn my money. I have the “right” to keep it all for myself.”
- “I work hard for my grades in school. I have the “right” to be recognized and rewarded for my efforts.”
WHAT DO OUR RIGHTS HAVE TO DO WITH SERVICE?
Because of our sinful natures, our natural tendency is to choose what we want, our will, verses God’s will. Our first reaction is self-preservation – me, me, me.
In Philippians 2:6-7, Paul is bringing to our attention that the world’s road to glory, fulfillment, success, happiness, etc., is nothing more than an illusion. Nothing more than a carrot dangling ahead of us, tempting us, and leading us to believe that if we catch it, then we’ll finally be HAPPY.
Paul describes Jesus’ preparation for service in Phil. 2:7, He made himself nothing, He emptied Himself, He took the humble position of a bond servant, and appeared in human form.
Jesus was now subject to “human” experiences. To pain, to temptation, to rules, to His parents, and most importantly, He was dependent on God.
I take a moment to note that Jesus, in choosing to humble Himself, to voluntarily take on the form of a human, in no way changed the fact that He continued to be God.
The fact that Jesus continued to be God, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin, Hebrews 4:15, is encouraging to me. It demonstrates I am not being forced to serve, or forced to depend on God. I choose to empty myself. I choose to serve. I choose to depend on God. Also, in making those choices I will not lose who I am, my personality, the characteristics that make me, me. No, instead I am accepting an opportunity to experience JOY.
Keep in mind that Jesus did not lose who He was, God. In the same way, as I mentioned above, we don’t lose who we are either. And who are we? Sinners!! – For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard – Romans 3:23
It’s because we’re sinners that we so desperately need a leader. We need to follow someone who has faced all of the same testings we do, yet did not sin – Hebrews 4:15. Someone who knows the way to JOY, and wants to help us experience JOY in our lives.
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