Philippians 2: 5-8 (KJV) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
I feel so unworthy to touch the topic of self-sacrifice. This is an area that I struggle with daily. For me, the hardest place to practice self-sacrifice is during my commute. I drive about an hour to work one way, and I have been guilty of everything from speeding to anger to ugly thoughts. So, when I learned that the topic for this month was not only self-sacrifice, but complete self-sacrifice, I turned to the only One I can think of Who has demonstrated complete self-sacrifice: the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my example of complete self-sacrifice; He is the standard that I must strive to live up to.
Paul wrote Philippians 2 as a demonstration to the church that they needed to learn to think and act like Jesus Christ. Earlier in the chapter, Paul wrote that they should esteem others better than themselves and that they should consider the needs of others above their own needs. These are hard things to do. It is so much easier just to think about what I need each day without considering anyone else. But this is not Christ-like. Instead, Christlikeness is putting others before myself, no matter what.
I want to do a quick dive into Philippians 2: 5-8 for this devotional. I believe that we as Christians are called to be like Christ, and this is one of the many passages that helps us understand the mind of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (v. 5). There is no mystery about it – we must have the same mind-set as Jesus.
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (v. 6). Jesus is God. Saying that He is equal with God does not rob any glory or worship from God because Jesus is God.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (v. 7). Jesus became a human with the same feelings that we all have: thirst, hunger, cold, fatigue, pain. But Jesus didn’t just become a human; He became a servant. He could have been born in a palace to a king and queen, but instead, He was born in a stable to a young couple of nobodies. Jesus is the greatest example of humility.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (v 8). Jesus humbled himself and became a servant. Then He died on the cross like a criminal. He was sinless and perfect. Why did He have to die like that? So that anyone who believes in Him might be saved and so that God would be glorified.
Jesus is the supreme example of complete self-sacrifice and humility. If we ask Him, I believe He will help us to humble ourselves too so that we can display Christ-like self-sacrifice to the world around us. Perhaps the key to self-sacrifice is humility. To be humbled, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, is to be abased or made low. If we will humble ourselves, or make ourselves low in our own eyes, then we can begin to see and care about the needs of those around us.
I mentioned earlier that I struggle with self-sacrifice when I am driving. I began to wonder the other day what Jesus would do if he were behind the wheel. I realized my own shortcomings very quickly! If I humble myself, how might that change my driving habits? As Christians, we are supposed to live our lives with an attitude of “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” I want to challenge you this month to think about the areas where you know you struggle with self-sacrifice. How would Jesus approach those areas? What would He think or say or do if he was faced with your situation? He would humble Himself and put others first. We should do the same. If we fail, Jesus will forgive us and help us try again.