I aim to be like Christ. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise… He is the only thing that I desire. I pray that now, and always.
In light of this desire, Philippians 2 is a baffling and convicting.passage.
“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.”
The more that I study the life of Jesus, the more convinced I am of a simple truth:
Jesus’ life wasn’t about Jesus.
See, if Jesus’ life was about Jesus, His life would have looked a little different.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He would have had a parade and fireworks at His birth.
Instead He was born in a food trough.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He would have had the most famous people anticipating Him.
Instead, shepherds, travelers, and livestock watched Him enter the world.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He would have likely operated on the biggest of stages.
Instead, He traveled countryside roads speaking to those who would heed wisdom.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He would have fought back against those who accused Him.
Instead, He was silent as a lamb before the slaughter.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He would have ordered a legion of angels to strike down those who tortured Him.
Instead, He allowed soldiers to push a crown of thorns on His head, nails in His hands and feet, and nail Him to a cross.
If Jesus’ life was about Jesus, He wouldn’t have died on a cross.
But because Jesus’ life wasn’t about Himself, He did.
Paul tells us in Philippians 2, that because of Christ’s obedience and humbling, God exalted Christ! How can someone so humble be exalted in such a way? Because just like His life, Christ’s exaltation was not for the sake of Christ! In verses 10 and 11 Paul writes “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
All of these things happen, not for the sake of Jesus’ exaltation, but for the glory of God the Father. The end goal of Christ’s life wasn’t Christ’s exaltation, (even though it happened) but God’s glory! And the same is true of our lives.
We like to think of ourselves as the end-all purpose of Christ’s sacrifice. We take verses about God’s love and use them to write us in as the ultimate reason. We, in misguided arrogance, put our salvation as the ultimate purpose of God’s sovereign plan and by extension Christ’s sacrifice. But why did God save us? Not simply so that we might be saved, but that He might be glorified in our salvation.
We must be like Christ, and humble ourselves. A seemingly impossible task, outlined simply for us in verse 8. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient.” If we are to be like Jesus, we must begin by humbling ourselves by becoming obedient to the Father. Because like Christ, our lives aren’t about ourselves, but about bringing glory to the Father.