Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Philippians 2:5 GW
Philippians 2:5 was my morning verse today, and it is quite a follow up to Mark Pangel’s sermon from Ephesians 5:1 calling us to imitate God:
Imitate God, since you are the children he loves.
Ephesians 5:1 GW
So I first looked at a few different translations to see the harmony between the different Bible translations:
And (laughingly) “like a good scholar”, then I started looking into the greek words themselves:
τοῦτο (“this” or “that”)
But as I began to dig this morning, it was as if I realized that the treasure wasn’t going to be in the digging into this particular verse — that I had highlighted in green (I use green to highlight commands/calls to action) — but in the following verses that I had highlighted in purple (I use purple to highlight verses about God’s character and nature):
If we are to have a mind (or attitude) like God, to be imitators of God, it seems our focus should be on Him, not ourselves. So we should look to these following verses to see what that attitude/mind of Christ looks like — or in my experience, I like to say “smells like”. Outward behavior can “look” a certain way but also “smell” differently. A common phrase to describe this is that we can see something “good” that someone is doing, but that something can “seem fishy” about their motives. So we don’t just want to be a counterfeit hoping to “look” righteous ourselves — we want our lives to be truly filled with that sweet aroma of the Holy Spirit of Christ in us which does result in a different type of life testimony.
In these verses, we learn about that “scent” of the genuine. Verses 6 tells us that He was on equal with God, but He didn’t consider his equality with God something to “cling to”. Verses that tell us about Christ being the head and we are the body come to mind, where we are reminded that we each serve a valuable purpose in the Kingdom of God come to mind. And that we should not strive to lift ourselves higher by our own striving for personal honor or glory, but let the vine dresser lift us up if He sees that we have fallen out of place and need to be moved for His glory.
As we look at the remaining verses, we see the pattern emerge — Christ emptied Himself of claims to titles and authority and chose instead to serve humbly. And in doing so, demonstrated the very nature and character that we are to imitate, The Way in which we are to walk — if we want God to be glorified.
Isn’t that the kicker sometimes? That we want to be appreciated, glorified, honored, respected ourselves? That we seek to demand from others the respect or kindness or assistance we expect they should be giving us? Or that we act the same way even towards God as if He owes us to let it go the easy way we think best, so we grumble, complain, or isolate ourselves from Him to chase after other things?
But this is not about accusations or condemnation today. It is about confessing our shortcomings honestly and boldly in the throne room of grace, and by our confessing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and trusting in God to fulfill His promises — that we can empty ourselves, humble ourselves — that we can bow our knee at the name of Jesus, and declare that Jesus Christ is Lord — to the glory of God.
This shift in mindset, in attitude, is to one of appreciation and gratitude — willing to face whatever lies ahead as opportunity for God to be glorified even in our trials, challenges, and suffering. And with it comes a peace that passes understanding, and a distinct aroma of a life on fire for God’s glory.
Lord, we are not seeking our own breeding laid low to martyrdom to be thought of highly by other men, nor to be lifted up high in position, title our authority to rule over others — even though we can confess that at times we have thought and behaved in such foolish, wicked ways before when we’r have made it all about getting drunk on the wine of our own gifts, talents, abilities and blessings bringing us attention. Lord, we are reminded that drunkenness of pride smells wretched like the fallen angel and is a stark contrast tho the sweet aroma of Christ Jesus the humble, suffering servant who you have lifted on high as our Lord and Savior. Rid us of the counterfeit, and make us imitators of God. We are Children of God, come walk with us and teach us, and let our time with you have us conformed to your image in everything we do. And let it be in our hearts, truly for your glory and honor alone. Amen.