Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Are You Willing To Serve Christ?

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2: 5-8)

Word Focus:

Let this mind be”: All godly action begins with the “renewing of the mind.” Right thinking produces right actions. Our actions are the fruit of our deepest thoughts.

in you”: Thinking and being like Christ are requirements not only for an individual but also for the corporate body of believers. Together we need to think and act like one being, like the Person of Jesus Christ.

form of God” (Gk. Morphe - theou) (Philippians 2:6) G3444; G2316: The Greek word for form was generally used to express the way in which a thing exists and appears according to what it is in itself. Thus, the expression form of God may be correctly understood as the essential nature and character of God. To say, therefore, that Christ existed in the form of God is to say that apart from His human nature Christ possesses all the characteristics and qualities belonging to God because He is, in fact, God.

robbery”: Because Christ was God, He did not look on sharing God’s nature as robbery, that is, as “a thing to be seized,” as though He did not already possess it, or as “a thing to be retained,” as though He might lose it.

equal”: As used in this verse, this word speaks of equality of existence. Christ was fully God, but He limited Himself in such a way that He could also be completely human. In Christ, God became man.

made Himself of no reputation”: This phrase can be translated “He emptied Himself.” Christ did this by taking on the form of a servant, a mere man. In doing this, He did not empty Himself of any part of His essence as God. Instead He merely gave up His privileges as God and took upon Himself existence as a man. While remaining completely God, He became completely human.

form”: Jesus added to His divine essence (see v. 6) a servant’s essence, that is, the essential characteristics of a human being seeking to fulfill the will of another. Paul does not say that Christ exchanged the form of God for the form of a servant, involving a loss of deity or the attributes of deity. Rather, in the Incarnation, Christ continued in the very nature of God but added to Himself the nature of a servant.

bondservant”: In this context, the term refers to the lowest status on the social ladder (see Heb. 10:5), the exact opposite of the term Lord, a title by which all will one day recognize the risen and exalted Christ (see v. 11). It is truly amazing, therefore, that the God who created the universe (see John 1:3; Col. 1:16) and who rules over all creation (see Col. 1:17) would choose to add to His person the nature of a servant.

likeness”: This word does not mean that Christ only appeared to be a man. Rather, the term emphasizes identity. In reality He was a man, possessing all the essential aspects of a human being, although unlike all others He was sinless.

appearance”: This is the third word Paul uses to show the Philippians that Jesus Christ who is fully God from all eternity is also fully man. In the previous verses, Paul describes Jesus as possessing the nature of God and taking on the nature of a servant. Jesus came to the earth with the identity of a man. Here the word appearance points to the external characteristics of Jesus: He had the bearing, actions, and manners of a man. He humbled Himself: Jesus willingly took the role of a servant; no one forced Him to do it.

obedient”: Although He never sinned and did not deserve to die, He chose to die so that the sins of the world could be charged to His account. Subsequently He could credit His righteousness to the account of all who believe in Him (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4).

even the death of the cross”: Paul describes the depths of Christ’s humiliation by reminding his readers that Christ died by the cruelest form of capital punishment, crucifixion. The Romans reserved the agonizing death of crucifixion for slaves and foreigners, and the Jews viewed death on a cross as a curse from God (see Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13).

These verses (Philippians 2: 5-8) present one of the most significant statements in all of Scripture on the nature of the Incarnation, the fact that God became man. Also, through this wonderful description of Christ, Paul vividly illustrates the principle of humility (Philippians 2: 3-4). In His full humanity, Jesus showed us everything about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms. The incarnation is explained further in these passages: John 1:1-14; Romans 1:2-5; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; and 1 John 1:1-3.

Death on the cross (crucifixion) was the form of capital punishment that Romans used for notorious criminals. It was excruciatingly painful and humiliating. Prisoners were nailed or tied to a cross and left to die. Death might not come for several days, and it usually came by suffocation when the weight of the weakened body made breathing more and more difficult. Jesus died as one who was cursed (Galatians 3:13). How amazing that the perfect man should die this most shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment!

Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Christ, we should have a servant’s attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear. Remember, you can choose your attitude. You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others. See Mark 10:45 for more on Christ’s attitude of servanthood.

Often times people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. They think, “I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass this class.” or, “I can spend all this money on myself – I worked hard for it.” or “I can get an abortion; I have a right to control my own body.” But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow Christ, we must also say we want to live as He lived. We should develop His attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve?

Father God, it is my prayer that I not selfishly cling to my rights and freedoms that I have as a child of God, but humbly allow myself to become Your servant. Change my heart and mind to that of Your Son Jesus, so I can better serve You. Lord give me an attitude of humility and take away all pride so I will become a better witness. I pray this all in Jesus' name. Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible.


DORCAS said...

Thanks for sharing this Lloyd. Very good reading!



RCUBEs said...

Amen to your prayer! I am grateful to be reminded that the "battle" is in the mind. I pray that He will continue to mold me and transform me to be more like Jesus. Thank you for dissecting each word[with Scripture references]. Truly helpful. But I had to take my time because I didn't want to miss a nugget! God bless you bro. Lloyd. Have a great day!

Andrea said...

Blessings and prayers,

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent read Lloyd, such a pleasure. Thanks for shaing this with us,


Seeking Grace on the Narrow Path said...

Thank you my friend for sharing such an insightful post. May the Lord continue to bless you.
Your sister in Christ,

Antique ART Garden said...

working hard to be less selfish daily. Hard to change bad habits of " me -me' mentality. By the way, your song playing in the background makes it very difficult to read your blog. Plain music w/ no lyrics is easier on blogs. take care, great post, Gina

GODthinker said...

Thanks for the thoughtful and excellent post.

MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

God became man! Thanks for sharing the wonderful message of our Lord.

Let all of us (like you) pray, "Father God, may I not selfishly cling to my rights and freedoms that I have as a child of God, but humbly allow myself to become Your servant."



Christopher said...

Thanks for reaching out to me first on my blog and electing to follow. I read through some of the stuff on yours and enjoyed it so I'm following yours as well. Well done, brother! Keep up the good work!

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing your blog with me.
I enjoyed reading. God Bless

fuzzys dad said...

Thanks for the invatation to read your blog.Rick

ma thet zin said...

Very nice

Dual said...

Nice blog I went to see it. Have a nice day
Gio '

One Heart said...

Awesome as usual. So true that even clinging on to our freedoms can be selfish at times. We are His. It's all for Him. Renewing the mind is key and that is why we run into trouble at times. Spending time with Him and bringing our hearts and our thoughts for examination and correction is a must moment by moment. If people knew the power of renewing our mind to line up with His routinely, there'd be less deliverance services and more teaching focusing on what really works--day to day abiding and choosing to line up with His will and His Word.

Thank you for sharing as usual. Love to visit and read.

John McElveen said...

As soon as that song started Chills ran up and down my body! We have gone so Contemporary we have forgotten WHO and What has brought us this far! I am soooo HERE!!

God Bless and Thanks!


Kathy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's so nice to be connected with other believers. God bless!


I'm humming right now to the song On Christ the Solid Rock. I love that hymn. It is so uplifting. Thank you for this post and thank you for all your thoughtful and encouraging comments. God bless you richly, Dr. Bobbi

ma thet zin said...

Very nice

Bo said...

Thank you for your visit :) My mom highly recommended your blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts :D God bless.

Melanie Redd said...

Great reminder to lay it all down. Hard to do, but so freeing...

Praying that I'll let go of my rights and let God have His way.

Thanks for sharing...


Zach S. said...

It is very interesting that you noted we should possess humility. Pride was the first sin, committed by Satan when he said that he would become greater than God Himself. Christ, on the other hand, humbled Himself and took on human form, becoming the God-Man.

Some Christians claim Christian freedom to do and excuse questionable things, yet no one is free; we are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. As Paul said in one of his letters (not word for word, mind you): where does a slave have room to boast in himself...he doesnt't...only in the Master.

Good post Llyod; thanks for sharing!

In Christ,

~ Zach S.

Dee said...

Thankfully I am able to have a constant renewal of my mind going on as I pray and read scripture. That way my light can shine for Christ and I will be able to humbly go about the things He places in my life in which Ican serve him. You are a very good teacher Lloyd.

That corgi :) said...

thanks for checking out my blog (Fear of the Lord); I do believe all insights on there are directly from the Lord and his Word!

I enjoyed reading this entry and briefly scanned a couple of your other ones. I think if we were just willing to serve and put Jesus first and others second and ourselves last what a difference it would make in this world of ours. So many of us have a me-me attitude that it is hard sometimes to serve but if we keep our eyes on Jesus and model him and how he, God, could serve than shouldn't we be willing to do the same?? It is a struggle at times indeed!

it seems that you put a lot of thought and effort into your posts and back it up with Scripture :)

may you/family have a nice rest of the weekend!


Lisa said...

You have a wonderful blog.
Thank-you for visting my blog.
God Bless You.

sarah said...

Nice blog...