Day Six: “Your attitude should be that same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped; but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8)
This verse comes from my time spent at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado one summer during high school. It was a week-long camp designed to help teenagers develop their Christian worldview. The leaders there challenged us to memorize this passage and so I did! This passage is one of the longer sections of scripture that I have memorized but it is also one that comes to mind most easily. (Although I seem to have memorized it in a slightly version than the NIV version I started with!) I have heard it quoted since then in numerous sermons or in various books and hearing it always takes me back to my week spent at Summit. Back then though, I think I was more impressed with the fact I had memorized it and was less focused on what the verses actually convey about Jesus himself.
Now, it is something that comes to mind when I am thinking along the lines of “what would Jesus do?” in a particular situation. For instance, Jesus would not feel like he has to be acknowledged or noticed for his “good deeds” but would simply do them out of love for others and a desire to serve God first and foremost. Jesus would not think that he always has to have his own way or be in control all the time but would realize that God’s way for his life is best in the long run. And so should I.
This passage also really embodies to me the very essence of servant leadership, which is a concept I feel I have struggled with in my various areas of ministry over the years. It also brings to mind the verse from Mark 10:45 which says, ” For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So what does that look like for me in my life? I think one way I can answer that is in something I am just on the cusp of exploring in my own life. It has to do with the idea of “True Fasting” which comes from this section of Isaiah 58:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
I can see God calling me to this idea in my own life lately just as He has also burned parts of Isaiah 58 into my heart and mind recently. But what does all this look like practically and realistically for me? How can this go from being a vague call to action to being something that truly changes lives (my own included)? I’m still wrestling with that one so stay tuned!
But I do know that, as I wrestle, the verses from Philippians 2 which I memorized back in my Summit days can help guide my thoughts and actions. That God can use it to help me find out what it truly means to be a servant leader within my sphere of influence. And may he use it somehow in your own life as well:
“Your attitude should be that same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped; but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8)