By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville, TN. Extract from the Baptist and Reflector: Sunday School Lesson-Bible Studies For Life. Focal Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

There once was a slave in ancient Rome who heard his master was on the liquidation list. Upon learning this news, he quickly put on his master’s cloak and quietly awaited the arrival of the political assassins. When they finally arrived, they killed the slave because he was dressed like his master. In the same way, Jesus Christ took upon Himself the cloak of humanity to pay for your sins and mine upon the cross. His death was no accident. It was planned by God and set into motion before the foundation of the world. Such love demands a response, does it not? In light of His amazing grace, what should our response be?  

In verses 1-2, Paul admonishes us that our response should be like-mindedness. First of all, it should be like-mindedness with Christ. If Christ’s love has brought us any comfort, any fellowship or benefit, then we should respond by adopting the mind of Christ. Second, and equally important, is being like-minded with our fellow believers by showing them love, deference, and kindness. If anyone has ever had the right to be self-centered, it was Jesus Christ. And yet, He willingly relinquished His right to be served in order to serve those whom He loved. Should we as His followers not follow His example and put the needs of others above our own? Should we not focus more on the purpose that unites us over the differences that divide us?

In verses 3-4, Paul reveals what keeps so many of us from taking on the mind of Christ and that is pride. He writes, “Do nothing out of strife or vain glory.” Pride is an empty pursuit because it glorifies ourselves and not the Father. As followers of Christ, we should work toward advancing His Kingdom and not our own. He taught His followers to pray “thy will be done,” not my will be done. And yet, many times the disease of pride, the desire of self-promotion, and the demand for retribution destroys the work of Christ in churches throughout Tennessee and around the world. When will it stop? It will stop when God’s people learn the value of humility, practice placing more value on others than they do upon themselves, and exchange self-promotion for the favor of almighty God!

Lastly, Paul sets out in verses 5-11 to give the ultimate example of what every believer should be. Paul called upon this example to help the Philippians understand why humility was so important. Christ displayed ultimate humility by stepping down from glory, by surrendering exercise of His divine attributes, by taking on human flesh, and by being obedient to the Father’s will of giving His life for you and me. As a result, Jesus Christ has received through humility unsurpassable glory.

On a yet future day, every knee will be made to bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God. And, in that moment, the One who was humiliated and laid low for our transgressions will now be lifted up and exalted. Like Christ, the way up is down. Allow yourself to learn and adapt to this mindset and you will be exalted in due time.

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