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, there is another aspect to the Gospel, one I generally don't ponder very often. I've often contemplated the sacrifice Christ made, but have rarely thought about his attitude in doing so.
That has changed. 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
Am I the only one who never really pondered this in just this way before? What implications does Christ considering me better than Him when He hung on that cross have?
We're chatting about this here, and at Living By Grace on Facebook. Hope you'll join the discussion!
Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength