[i]by Oswald Chambers[/i]
Have this in mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. . . . (Philippians 2:5-7 rv)
Paul does not tell us what Jesus emptied Himself of: He emptied Himself of what He was in His former existence. That is a revelation fact, and we must beware of any explanation that explains it away. The Apostle Paul does not say that Jesus thought nothing of Himself; He thought truthfully of Himself, He knew Who He was, but there was no self-assertion. Paul connects the two"being on an equality with God" and not counting it "a thing to be grasped" (av). That means Jesus never presumed on His equality with God, He did not continually assert it. There was only one brilliant moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration. We do not know what the glory was which He had with the Father before the world was, but if we stand with Him on the Mount we see what He emptied Himself of. On the Mount the voice of the Father expressed the Divine approval"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"; yet it was a step on to the Crossa way none ever went before, or has ever had to go since.
Recall the temptation of Our Lord; Satan tempted Him on this very line, viz. to assert Himself. "Remember Who You are, the Son of God, assert your prerogative as Son." At the heart of every one of our Lords answers is this"I did not come here to assert Who I am, I came here for Gods will to be done through Me in His way."
The same temptation comes to us as Gods children"If you are sanctified, presume on it, think of it as something to be grasped." Whenever we get our thoughts fixed on our experience instead of on the God who gave us the experience, it is impossible to form the mind which was in Christ Jesus. It is not a question of sanctification, but of what happens after sanctification. The steadfast habit of the Christian life is the effacement of self, letting Jesus work through us without let or hindrance as the Father worked through Him.
Whenever we are told by the Spirit of God to follow the example of Jesus, the following is emphatically prescribed to a particular point:
For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not. . . . (1 Peter 2:21-23 rv)
Peter makes it perfectly clear and unambiguous how we are to "follow His steps," viz. in the way we suffer as Christians. "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: . . . when He suffered, threatened not." "Follow His example there," says Peter; just as Christ exhibited an unthreatening spirit when He suffered, we are to do the same. No human being can suffer wrongfully without finding the spirit of threatening awakened in him, a spirit which if put into words would be"Ill make that person smart! The idea of saying that about me!" If we are born again of the Holy Ghost the disposition of Jesus in us will enable us to "follow His steps" so that when we suffer wrongfully, we do not threaten. The following is distinctly limited to that one point. "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." We are never told to be like the unique Being the Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world as God Incarnate to put away sin, but when sin has been put away through the Atonement, we are to be conformed to His image. To "follow His steps" does not mean we have the belittling idea that we are to be Jesus Christ over again. It is not a question of "What would Jesus do?" but, "What would Jesus have me do?" We have to exhibit over again the life He exhibited; in this particular instance, in the circumstance of suffering wrongfully. Suffering is the touchstone of saintliness, just as temptation is, and suffering wrongfully will always reveal the ruling disposition because it takes us unawares.
"Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (rv). In this verse Paul indicates the type of mind we are to form, viz. the mind of true humility, the mind of Christ which He exhibited when He was on earthutterly self-effaced and self-emptied, not the mind of Christ when He was in glory. If you are a saint, says Paul, manifest it by having the mind which was in Christ who said, "I am among you as He that serveth." One of the essential elements of Deity is the humility expressed in a baby and in Jesus Christ. "And He called to Him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (rv). To interpret these words to mean that we are to have as our ideal being servants of all, would end in mock humility. We cannot form the mind of Christ if we have not got His Spirit, nor can we interpret His teaching apart from His Spirit. Our spiritual destitution and entire dependence upon God, and our despair of ever attaining to this kind of life, is in reality the most glorious chance for God. The Spirit of God never allows the thought that is apt to crop up now and again in spiritual teaching, that we are to be specimens of what God can do. That thought is inspired by the devil, never by the Spirit of God. I am not here to be a specimen of what God can do; I am here to live the life so hid with Christ in God that what Jesus said will be true, Men will "see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon