“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
Glad to come your way and write my first post of the year. I trust we all had a great Christmas holiday?
As a professing Christian, my personal goal this year is to be more of Christ, my Lord and savior, in word, deed and practice. My understanding of Christianity is to assume His likeness in our daily walk. The question is, how do I reflect Christ’s ideals and virtues, if I don’t look at his mindset?
This Bible passage goes into detail the mind of Christ and how He was able to affect humanity at large. As of writing today, Christianity is known to be the largest of the world’s major and practiced religions with more than two billion followers. So it goes to say, Jesus Christ has been quite influential.
I deduce three things when I read this text, and sharing these will hopefully make us better humans this year and the years beyond. One of the best investments is in yourself- striving to be a better you as the days go by. You become a better you in hope of becoming a better servant leader to your world. It makes life meaningful and purposeful. With that said, let us dive in.
1. “…but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men…”
The first lesson I learn here is empathy. My personal definition is the ability to step into one’s shoes to understand how he feels, thinks and acts. From this read, Jesus didn’t know what it meant to be a servant and a man, but for Him to relate well on this earth, “He made himself of no reputation”. When you look at this phrase in the Greek, it means He emptied Himself of His divine attributes that made Him equal with God, so that He could be a man. The lesson is, you can’t fit in until you pay the price of emptying something. This year, we can relate well with people, if we are a bit more empathetic. It comes at a price though.
2. “…And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself…”
The second thing I learn here is humility. Humility and being docile are not in the same bracket. When you think of humility, don’t think of weakness, rather meekness. It is the ability to be modest or behave in an unassuming manner. That to me, is the height of super confidence. As I write, this quality reminds me exactly of my pastor. I consider him a great leader and one I learn from because he embodies this quality well which has extended his influence greatly. It takes great strength not to boast in yourself. It takes real power not to abuse people with your privileges. You are very secured in who you are if you don’t get that seat at the high table. Not rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty doesn’t define you, so you don’t boot lick your way into their company. People who are humble don’t hold grudges and can easily forgive. One aspect of humility shows in how you relate with authority. Rebellion is a sign of cowardice, fearing you will be taken advantage of. Sometimes, it is just an illusion. Humility is a great virtue indeed!
3. “… and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
I love the Greek definition of this word obedient which means “give ear by attentively listening”. So in this definition, I see that obedience requires great attention to detail. You can’t do that if you are not focused. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ captures this quality succinctly. In it, you will see a man who was meted out the harshest of inhumane treatment and that didn’t stop him from carrying His cross to be crucified. Such intensity of focus was born out of obedience. What assignment have you tasked yourself with or been given? Give ear by attentively listening with the intent of executing that task.
May we be better this year. I hope at the end of the year, you can chart at least one significant step upward in the growth of who you are becoming.
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Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love