In Christ Is Life, Philippians 2:5-11
This passage of scripture tells us how Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and up to Golgatha started. It was a journey that began with Jesus emptying himself of all that was his in heaven. The next step was to take “the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (v 7b). The journey continued, fueled by more humility as he “became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross” (v 8). Verse five calls us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus when he began and continued the journey.
Christ-followers, this is a big part of what it means to follow Jesus. Emptying ourselves of reputation and position and entitlement is evidence of the right mind, not of having lost our mind. It is the trail head, the path of humility, the journey of Christ-following. Calling upon God’s grace, we too often opt out of this particular approach to Christianity. Lent comes around to give us a season in which to reconsider that decision.
The journey might be described in other terms for us. How does “journey from being the lord of our life to humbly imitating the life of the Lord” sound? Why would someone begin such a journey? The answer is “for the love of God, and the sake of the world.” It was Jesus’ motivation, and it just may be what separates Christianity, the movement, from Christ-following, the commitment. We are called away from the righteousness of causes and works to the righteousness of Christ. Humility seems to be the ingredient that makes the difference. Christ humbled himself and calls on those who would be Christ-followers to do the same. Salvation is a person, not a concept.
Humility, the kind found in Christ and his followers, is exalted by God to the point and end that every knee in heaven and earth should bow before Jesus and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. This all finally comes back around to giving the glory to God the Father. The journey is from the glory of God the Father to the glory of God the Father, and we are both called and implored to join the journey (vv 5 and 11).
In Christ is life. In Christ is the relationship with God that our hearts seem to know is needed. In Christ is peace. It cannot be found at any level, anyplace else in the world. We cannot be both sinner and savior. Jesus, fully God and fully man, could be. That’s a humbling thing-for Jesus and for us. But God exalts the humble, those whose humility is Jesus’ humility. It results in glory that is God’s glory and in life that is Jesus’ life in us, through us, and attributed to us as righteousness.
Humility: one cannot set out to attain it. One gives up the project and submits to Christ-likeness as a way of life. There is all kinds of glory in that, and it all belongs to God. Humility saves us from humiliation-that sure result of glory we would heap upon ourselves.
Let the mind of Christ be in me.
A word about the series
The Lenten season has always inspired many people to create everything from poems, art and music to a completely new direction in their lives. This Lenten season Tabernacle will be exploring many of those creations in the hope of inspiring you to compose in a medium that is natural for you. The paintings in the Sanctuary are of the Biblical Stations of the Cross. The artist, Grieg Leach, completed them in 2010. They will help us to visualize the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition to the paintings there is a Lenten devotional booklet, Return to Me, which is available in print or online. The Stations of the Cross also inspired these devotions, written by Terry York of Baylor University. Living with these two bodies of artistic expression based on the Biblical Stations of the Cross throughout the season of Lent should help us as we seek to return our lives to God by walking with Jesus though his final days.
Pray, read, think and return to God.
All scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible.
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