Day 27 - The Attitude and Obedience of Christ

Day 27 - The Attitude and Obedience of Christ

Written By: Joy Hardin

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:3-11, NLT).

In verses 3-4 our human nature is challenged. Even when we are serving God, our motives can be wrong. It’s hard to put our own interests aside for someone else’s. Whether at home, in the workplace, or even in church life, we like for things to be done our way. Paul calls us to “abandon every display of selfishness” and have “a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests” (Philippians 2:4, TPT).

“Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:5, NLT). Attitude can change everything. It can defeat us or help us rise above the most dismal situation. Most of us know someone who has a negative attitude, such as arrogance, self-pity, defeat, or blame to name a few. In his teaching on attitudes, Charles Swindoll shares the stories of two prisoners in different camps and with different attitudes and outcomes. One is the story of a 24-year-old marine who, after two years in Kushner’s POW camp, lost hope and with an attitude of defeat, he stopped eating, refused contact with others, and lay on his cot and died. The other was the story of Dr. Victor Frankl, a Jewish Holocaust prisoner. After losing everything that seemed to matter (home, family, and freedom), and after suffering false accusations and indignities, Frankl determined that he still had one thing the Nazis could not take—his attitude. It helped him survive his ordeal until he was finally released. (Strengthening Your Grip, pp. 206-208)

We choose our attitudes. Jesus chose to have an attitude of humility. Can you imagine how hard it must have been when he was questioned before the council, tried by Pilate, and mocked by the Roman soldiers, and finally crucified (Matthew 26-27), knowing all the while He could stop them and reveal His great authority over them all? Yet He chose to suffer so we could have eternity with Him.  
In Matthew 1 and Luke 2 we are shown the physical aspects of Jesus’ birth—He was God’s Son and He was born as a tiny baby to the virgin Mary. Here in Philippians 2:6-7, we are given a bit more of the spiritual or even the emotional aspect of Jesus’ incarnation. Jesus existed in the form of God, and yet He stepped down from heaven to free us from our sin. Jesus came to earth as a man, yet He did not cease to be God. Jesus was and is eternally God, and He did not empty Himself of His Godhood (Vines, p, 197). “He gave up his divine privileges” (NLT) or “emptied Himself of His outward glory” (TPT).

Jesus was obedient, not to death itself, but to his Father’s will. He accepted death as payment for us. When we have small children, we teach them to obey. We try to reward their good behavior, but, if necessary, we use punishment to teach them obedience. Jesus’ obedience was not something He learned this way, but something He chose. The death Jesus allowed Himself to endure was more than just physically excruciating, it was publicly humiliating and demoralizing. Yet God allowed His Son to suffer this for us. “One man’s disobedience opened the door for all humanity to become sinners. So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to him” (Romans 5:19, TPT).

God has given Jesus the name that is above every name. The word used for “name” in this passage refers to more than what a person is called; it refers to their authority or character. The proof of this will be revealed at a future time when we will see everyone and everything in heaven, on earth, and under the earth bow to Jesus and publicly acknowledge His authority, praising Him as Supreme!

It’s interesting that two different words are used for “earth” in verse 10. The first “earth” refers to the terrestrial earth or world. The second “earth” refers to subterranean, infernal, or belonging to the world of departed spirits. There is nothing or no one in all creation who will not bow to Jesus and acknowledge His Lordship. Every person and every created being will confess, celebrate, and praise Him to the glory of God the Father!

Knowing that all will one day bow to Jesus as Lord, we should be even more diligent to share Him with loved ones. Right now, God has probably put someone on your heart who needs to hear the hope Jesus offers. Stop and write a letter or call and tell them of the urgency of following Christ today.

Lord, help me to be humble like Jesus and put others above myself. Give me the words to proclaim your greatness and share your love with those who need you.