5.27.2009

Digging deeper- Philippians 2:5-11

BIGGER! BETTER! FREE! EASY! RELAX!When I look around me- on the internet, driving down the street, in magazines and catalogs- these are the words that pop out of the page at me, a blatant reminder of where our culture finds pleasure. We try to get what we want, when we want it, the easy way. And if possible, we'd also appreciate if it didn't blow our budget. In our culture today, parents of teens shrug when their kids refuse to do chores, leave snack wrappers tossed around the house, neglect to meet simple responsibilities. They laugh, "Kids these days!". What they are neglecting to realize is that their teen is missing out on some big life lessons like humility, service, selflessness. The expectations of the average teen are generally low- sure, aren't most teens lazy anyway? They'll grow out of it. But they won't. They don't. Rising up is a generation of kids who are disgustingly self-centered. Even when we do "good things" we are probably secretly hoping someone will take notice and pat us on the back for making a good choice. We live only for ourselves. This hurts God so much as you will see in the following verse that we are going to study. Maybe you don't even realize it, but you are probably living for yourself too. I did. (Well, maybe I still do..a little bit.)


A little more than a year ago, as my mom searched for verses for me to memorize, she stumbled across the following. At the time, I had been struggling with selfishness (and perhaps a bit of laziness) and I needed to snap out of it. I was also extremely shy and quiet, sometimes helpless if my mom wasn't there to help me and give me the self-confidence I didn't have. Because it was getting to the point of rudeness (like not being able to carry on a decent conversation with an adult, let alone a girl my age) I needed something to help change me, move me.This verse is a humbling, brutal, and beautiful reminder of what our Savior went through and what a high standard God has set for us! The highlighted words are some keywords I would like to zoom in on and take a closer look at the meaning of each one of them. I used The Complete Word Study- New Testament Edition, edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. I also looked on blueletterbible.com, where if you go to a verse, then click on "C", you will find the meanings of several words. That way, we can get a better understanding of this verse:


Philippians 2:5-11

Your attitude should be the 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 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! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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. (NIV)


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. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)


  • Robbery- harpagmos - a thing seized or to be seized, booty
  • Of no reputation- kenoo - empty, void
  • Servant- doulos - slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of the other
  • Likeness- homoioma - resemblance, image
  • Fashion- schema - external form, appearance; In Philippians 2:8- Jesus’ whole outward appearance in which there was no difference between the Incarnate Son and the other children of men, but he was God and continued to be God.
  • Humbled- tapeinoo - In the case of Philippians 2:8- He brought about the recognition of His humanity by demonstrating His absolute dependence on His Father.
  • Exalted- huperupsoo - To elevate above others, raise to the highest position
  • Name- onoma- Implying authority, dignity; Delegated power and authority
  • Bow- kampto- In honor of one, used of worshippers, bend the knee, bow
  • Confess- exomologeo- To profess, confess as truth
  • Lord- kurios- The title is given to God, the Messiah. Also it is used as a greeting from a servant to his master out of respect and reverence.
  • Glory- doxa- It is understood in contrast with His earthly manifestation and is brought by Christ Himself into connection with the glory which He had before his humiliation in the incarnation. (Whew!)

Wow. What a powerful message. Take a look again at the meaning of the word servant. I love the picture of Jesus as a Man being all together consumed by the will of God. As He walked on the earth, He was willing to do anything to bring glory to His Father. And although He was still God, He had no problem with acknowledging His lowly position as a human. Jesus went so far as to even sacrifice His life on the cross for our sin. Daily, we are carrying a cross of our own. When we serve God, through directly serving Him, or through service to others, we are to " die" to ourselves. What does that mean? It obviously doesn't mean we work so hard we keel over and physically die. Every time we have a desire that isn't met as a result of loving others and giving them our time and attention we are sacrificing ourselves (though not so drastically as Jesus did on the cross).

Also about a year ago, my mom and I embarked on our first terrifying journey out of the country. We are both germ freaks, we are both control freaks, she had only been on a plane once before and I had never been on a plane in my life. As you can imagine, it did not go well with us. What I had imagined as a perfect trip on which I would change the lives of several young children and lead them to Christ, I ended up mostly taking care of my mom, who became dehydrated during our trip and ended up in bed with an IV for two days. That was when I realized how much I depended on my mom and how much she was dying to herself to meet my needs. During that week, under tough circumstances, I learned to fend for myself out in the real world (since my mom wasn't there to talk for me when I could think of anything good to say). I had to step out of my comfort zone and start doing things that I never imagined I could or would do for myself. But I did them (and I survived!). For me, my biggest humility problem is that I was so afraid of messing up and being embarrassed in front of other people, that I just would do or say anything. What an idea! Usually, the idol that "shy" people hold up is themselves. They are so obsessed with making the image of themselves perfect, that they hurt other people and appear rude and snobby instead of pouring over with love for others.

Don't get me wrong. There is a difference between humility (or meekness), and shyness. Meek is good- it's the servitude, willingness to sacrifice yourself for the glory of God, dying to ourselves. Shyness is holding ourselves up so high that we are afraid to look down because we might stumble.

But look at the promise God has for us if we only choose to walk in humility instead of pride- and that can be as easy as doing the dishes without your mom asking, helping an elderly lady with her groceries when you have a million "better" things to do, playing with your younger siblings when you feel like you have no energy left after a long day at school. When Jesus died and rose again, God raised Him to the highest place and glorified Him. And we must glorify Him also! God will reward us for our humility, even if we don't see our reward on earth.

Please comment to tell us what you got from this verse and it's additional meanings, as well as some ideas of how we can die to ourselves and glorify God while doing it! We appreciate all the feedback we can get!





2 comments:

Friends of Narnia said...

That's cool Madeline. Thanks. :) I'm shy, too, and I have so much trouble doing things like calling people on the phone (that I know :P), etc. I'm extremely nervous that I might make a mistake, or whatnot. With Mom pushing me to "do hard things", I'm learning that I can do those things, and once I do get comfortable with them, I'll need to start going even further. But I need God to help me.

averagegirl said...

Amen! We can do nothing on our own- we need God's help. You know how you felt like it would be hard for you to "open up" on this site??? Well, that could be another step towards breaking out of your comfort zone- just to share your heart with the world!!! :D