4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
If anyone told you becoming Christian meant all your troubles were going to go away and life would become peaceful and easy, you might want to stop reading now.
On second thought, if that is your vision of Christianity and you find yourself reading my blog this morning, then this is probably the very thing you are supposed to hear at this time in your walk.
THE ROAD OF DISCIPLESHIP ISN’T EASY, IN FACT IT’S LIKELY THE HARDEST THING YOU WILL EVER ENCOUNTER IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
I’ll give you a minute to get over the initial shock.
As with everything in God’s word, there is a critical perspective and balance point that must be sought out for true understanding.
To be more specific, the pursuit of Christ-likeness will be the hardest thing we will ever encounter however the more success we have in rooting out our own selfishness and living poured out for others, the easier and more fulfilling our life becomes.
Does that make sense?
I spent my whole life in pursuit of the spoils this world had to offer, it was what I saw modeled in the adults around me and through my peers growing up. “If it feels good do it” and “when do I get mine” become the foundation of a young man entering the world if we’re not encouraged toward biblical manhood.
When I talk of biblical manhood, I’m not talking about a warrior called to destroy entire pagan nations as some of the bloodiest battles in the Old Testament portray, but to draw deeper toward the heart and motivations portrayed by not only the men of the bible, but the heart, mind and motivations of Christ Himself.
Abraham showed us incredible patience and obedience, Moses gave up his claim on the easy life for one of incredible hardship and sacrifice, David wrestled with his flesh and found grace and mercy through incredible depths of surrender and humility, Peter battled fear, shame and feelings of unworthiness to become the Rock.
Each man of God had a life-long battle with their human-side at the soul level, but each man continued to turn to God and was rewarded with the mercy to get over themselves and the power to finish the job God placed in front of them.
In this passage (and so many others) Christ’s wields His greatest weapon, love, mercy, compassion, submission to God in Heaven. He Himself being God “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped”.
What Christ came to counter was the self-righteous religious people who saw themselves as holy and those wrestling in their weaknesses as something to be rebuked, rejected, judged and condemned.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The path of following Christ is hard not because we are called to change a broken world, but because we are called to fearlessly face our own weakness, brokenness, fears and failures and LIVE DIFFERENTLY.
We are called to willfully ask God to reveal our own hypocrisy and only from that place can we learn the true meaning of humility and only from that place will we then begin to grasp the heart and mind of Christ and begin to desire a life poured out for others.
If we are in pursuit of Christ through our services to others we will never find Him, but through the pursuit of Christ Himself, we will then find our true purpose and passion in community service to others.
Christ’s Example of Humility
2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others
At any point in Jesus’ life He could have claimed his Deity-ship and destroyed his persecutors and forced compliance to His perfect ways, but instead He died a sinner’s death, wrongly accused and brutally murdered, sacrificial love in obedience to the will of God.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
All are called to follow Christ, but few truly answer.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
There is a cost.
We must ask ourselves the difficult questions;
Am I’m living out comfortable Christianity or biblical Christianity?
Does following the call of God cause any inconvenience in my life?
Am I picking and choosing how “I” want to serve Him, or is He truly at the helm of my life each day and not just for 1 hour on Sundays?
These are difficult questions, this is a difficult topic that many “feel good” Mega-Church Pastors don’t talk about.
We enter into relationship with Christ by learning about His incredible grace, mercy and sacrifice that covers our sinful selfish lives and we can have great hope in His plans to prosper us, but we are not called to sit complacent in the do nothing cheap seats of vending machine “give me, thank you” shallow Christianity.
We are called to be followers of Christ, not just admirers
Father God, You know above all others how deeply today’s message on my heart cuts inward, how I wrestle with my own desires for easy, comfortable, safe Christianity that finds great joy in sharing the Good News and even pressing into the difficult topics but does little to walk into the sick and broken world and minister directly to the hurting on the streets where they live. I find myself convicted as I sit here sipping coffee at the keyboard feeling all pumped up that “I have a message to share” when I could be in the world showing your love to others. Thank you for that double-edged sword that when seeking to speak against shallow Christianity it cuts deeper inward than outward. I thank you for the sting of conviction that asks me “what am I doing today” that makes a difference and not allowing self-assurances of lip service to become my badge of passivity in the world. May You press deeply upon all Your children this day Father so that we may truly seek the mind of Christ and in that reveal our own sacrificial calling to love the world as You did. Thank You for the awareness that in Your mercies there is no condemnation at the realization of our shallowness, only in our not responding to that awareness. May we continue to lean on Your mercies and grace, help us to pick up Your sword and shield this day and seek to embrace with courage our sanctification for Your glory. It is in Jesus’ name I pray…