Monday, March 28, 2011

Philippians 2: The Way Up is Down!

Phil 2:4-11 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himselfand became obedient to death — even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest placeand 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father. 

The way up is down! Jesus says that everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. On the other hand, everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. This the way of servant-leadership which is also the attitude of Jesus Christ himself. It encompasses:

1. Other-centred attitude (v.4): "interests of others". The story in ODB about the girl athletic team who gave away their gold medals to the disqualified team was an example of looking out for the interests of others.
2. Surrendering our position (v.6): "did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped." People in the world are seeking for positions and titles. Everyone wants to be "director" but not many want to be "directed". Jesus was willing to surrender his position as God in order to fulfill God's mission. Our self-esteem and self-worth should not be tied to our position and power but to God's mission.
3. Surrendering our rights (v.7):  "made himself nothing." In these days when people are asserting their "rights" rather than responsibilities, this is an attitude that sets us apart from the world - a willingness to give up rights for responsibilities.
4. God-focus (v.8): "humbled himself and became obedient to death." The true servant of God is God-focused in his service. He humbles himself so that he could pursue God's purpose in his life. It's not about achieving self- but God-actualization. We want God to be actualized among the peoples so that they may know Him and His love for them. Because that is our goal, we are willing to submit to God's will and purpose. 

In so doing, we follow Jesus' downward steps of humble service and also experience God's exaltation of our work & ministry.

Father, release the Christ in us, the true Servant-Leader who seeks Your glory alone. Deliver us from self-importance and self-ambition. Amen.

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