Happy Fourth of July 2013-1776 America the beautiful land that I love! And also we declare beautiful the country you live in as well. Thank you, Papa, for assigning us to our birth countries and to the countries we live in now. May the liberty of Jesus ring worldwide. For freedom you have set us free. (Galatians 5:1)
Toward freedom, love, peace, and usefulness Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 2 is, “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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 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.” (Philippians 2:5–11)
As Paul is asking us to do this, his main purpose is not to give us a treatise by which to defend the deity of Christ, although it can be useful for that, but to give us a picture of how we are to live and think and be within ourselves and with each other.
Therefore, I have turned his proposal into a personal declaration. Below is my adaptation of Philippians 2:5–11. I hope it encourages and empowers you personally and actively.
“I will seek to have this mind in myself for it is already mine in Christ Jesus. 1a
Though I am in the form of God1b
I do not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,2
But I empty myself,3 by
taking the form of a servant,4
being born in the likeness of people,5 And,
being found in human form,6
I humble myself 7 by
becoming obedient to the point of death,8 even death on a cross.9
Therefore God will highly exalt me 10 and bestowed on me the name that is above every name, 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.” 11 (Philippians 2:5–11, ESV)
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1a The idea of having the mind of Christ may seem a bit pushy, presumptuous, or even sacrilegious but I don’t think it really is. In fact I think the devil has oppressed God’s people long enough with lies about our status. Plus, Paul elsewhere declares “We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Our Lord himself rocks our comfort zones by asking, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” (John 10:34)
1b Papa God has predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). The great squeeze into becoming a new person in Christ.
2 Satan is still striving to be equal with God. All our fleshly strivings are therefore also satanic in thought, word, and deed. They are the antichrist spirits of the lusts of the eyes, flesh, and pride of life. In our flesh dwells no good thing. (Romans 7:18) We will cease striving and know that because God is God and we are in him we are safe and secure and somebody. (Psalm 46:10) No more grasping. “the servant of the Lord must not strive…” (2 Timothy 2:24, AV)
3 the antidote to being full of myself.
4 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:45) So we are here to listen to the Holy Spirit for our next way to serve and then serve some more and then serve again…not to get others to serve us.
5 “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” (Romans 12:16, AV)
6 This is our calling, “to be found in human from.” Religion wants us to be above (super, uber) human form, then, inevitably we fall beneath (sub) human form. We then waste a lot of time trying to climb back up to some sort of super human position only to fall again.
7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” (1 Peter 5:6, AV)
8 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11, AV)
9 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Matthew 16:24-27; Luke 9:23-27)
10 See footnote 7 above. God is in the business of exalting. He exalts only the humble. He is working toward our exaltation in and through and for and because of his son, Jesus. There is so much about this in the Bible. Here are my favorites: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3)
11 It’s all about Jesus: “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17)