Philippians: Servanthood

October 2, 2017

“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…” Philippians 2:5-7

In this passage we see Paul sets forth Jesus, who was and is God, as the supreme example. It is He who we are to follow; it is His actions we are to emulate. You cannot allow Christ to live through you and not be a servant. Only through servanthood can you be obedient to God’s call on your life.

Jesus lived as 100% human and 100% God (a profound mystery indeed). John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” It is extremely important that we understand what Paul is saying. Jesus is in fact God who took on flesh. He fought the same temptations, the same struggles we fight because we are in the flesh. Yet because of His Divine nature, He was able to overcome them and live out His Divine nature in the flesh. And what Paul is saying is that because we have Jesus living in us, we too, although living in the flesh, can demonstrate the Divine nature in this way. Jesus living in us enables us to live as humble servants to God and others. Jesus living in us enables us to overcome our fleshly desires, to overcome the temptations to live like the rest of the world, to overcome the desire to live for self rather than living for others.

Although Jesus had access to all the privilege and power to which his Divinity entitled Him, Jesus considered His Deity an opportunity for service and obedience. Instead of using all He had been given to His own advantage, He used it to love and save a people who were destined for an eternity separated from God. All of the authority and power available to Him became a channel of giving rather than a conduit for getting. His focus was not on being served but upon serving others. Not upon exalting Himself, but of emptying Himself in obedience.

If you and I are ever going to be servants, if we are going to have the same attitude as Christ, we are going to have to give up our rights in deference to others. This is what Jesus did, and if we will follow Him, this is what we must do too. Servanthood means giving up my rights for others.