"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

12/15/08

More than Himself

You know, I really thought I had a good grasp on what Christ did for me, of the love of God.
He loved me so much

that He willingly died for my sins,

and rose again

to make me a member of His family.
That's pretty basic, I know, but wouldn't you say that's the Gospel in a nutshell? If I can understand that, I've pretty much got the concept.

Yet, this past week, my pastor shared something from God's Word that put a whole new dimension to my understanding of the Gospel. I've often contemplated the sacrifice Christ made, but have rarely thought about his attitude in doing so.
That changed last week. Christ's attitude took my breath away.
The book of Philippians is one of my all-time favorite epistles. I've probably read it more times than any other book of the New Testament. All this to say, I am confident that I have read the third verse of the second chapter numerous times. I even have it memorized.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.(NIV)
Wonderful words of advice, and so hard to follow. We are so geared to put ourselves first. I have found that this is especially hard to do for people who are "below us" - in stature, in class, in anything. Yet, this is what God wants His children to do.
Because that is what He did when He came to earth, when He suffered despite being sinless, when He died on the cross.
That's what humility is, right? Esteeming others higher than ourselves. Putting others' needs ahead of our own. And Christ is our model for humility. He put His deity aside to be "lowered to our level," and to take our sin upon Himself. Why? Because He loves us. How? By putting our needs before His. By putting a higher priority on our sin than His sinlessness.
The God of the universe, the One who created Us, the Great I Am, the Lord of Hosts, Who spoke the world into existence, esteemed His creations--esteemed me--more than Himself.
Doesn't that blow your mind? He put my needs ahead of His own. He threw off His deity for a speck of dust. He considered me "better than" Him.

And I'm not. Not by a long shot. And I never will be. But He did it anyway.

How can I not follow this command for others? How can I say my needs are more important than that "poor soul" who could use my help? What justification could I possibly have for living for self?

Heavenly Father, how can I possibly understand how much You loved me, how much of a sacrifice You were willing to make for my dirty, terrible, sin-loaded soul? How could I comprehend Your willingness to esteem a wretch like me higher than perfect holy You? Help me to grasp that incredible fact, and perhaps more importantly, help me to use that knowledge to show that same kind of humility graciously to others on this planet with me. Help me, Lord, to take your incredible example of humility and display it to the world. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

While you're here, don't forget my contest/giveaway! Only two days to go! Blessings to you.

7 comments:

  1. Impossible to grasp, isn't it?

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  2. yes... those verses are so deep, we can learn more and more about God each time we read them.

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  3. You're right. Powerful teaching. And why I understand this "theologically", living the concept in the flesh is nearly impossible for me. Putting others ahead of me is not an easy swallow, but through the power of God's Spirit, I'm growing and learning and even finding my "want to" in the matter.

    Thanks for sharing this. I will chew on this one tonight.

    peace~elaine

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  4. JoDear, I read this last night (my email notification version of it.) just before heading for bed--it was just what I needed to tuck into bed with me. Wow! It is so unfathomable! But I'm so utterly thankful. God is good. So much for me to remember, and LIVE in this one! Thank you!

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  5. Thanks for sharing from your heart. We truly have so much to be thankful for, and even when we are slow to comprehend, He just keeps on loving and giving and being all that He is to us...

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