“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Paul here presents us one of the greatest and most dynamic passages in all of scripture, one which testifies to the dual nature of Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is fully God yet he sacrificed His glory to become a human being like us and die for our sins. He did not lose His glory or divinity but temporarily set them aside by veiling them in mortal flesh. He took on human weakness, He died a horrible death, he bore the awesome weight of our corruption to redeem us from sin.
Paul made this wonderful proclamation in order to exhort his brethren to righteousness so that the fellowship of all believers might truly be harmonious and glorifying to the Lord. We do not grow in righteousness and harmony just by becoming ecstatic over Paul’s words of high praise but by emulating the example of Jesus in every aspect of our lives. We are called to work out our salvation by putting put off self-indulgence and putting on humility. We do not live to please or glorify ourselves. Our ultimate concern is for others, not self. We serve God by serving others.
Now in the process of serving others we will, like Paul, suffer and endure deprivation and loss so that God’s Kingdom may flourish. And this we should do without complaint! This is all part of the process of dying to self and living for the Lord. In our self-centered world we might not like this idea of service to others at all. We fear that other people will use and manipulate us, that they will take advantage of us. We are afraid to lose what we think we need or what we think is our right and privilege: we want what everybody else has. Yet as servants of God we are not in control of our lives: the Lord is. He uses us as He sees fit while our purpose in life is to obey totally and completely. Only by accepting this call, on our jobs, in our families and all our relationships and activities, will we find true peace and joy.