Friday, April 6, 2018
Philippians 2:8 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
John 10:14, 17 – 18 14“I am the good shepherd…and I lay down my life for the sheep. 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Hebrews 12:2 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In case you’ve gotten into the habit of skipping the Scripture passages and jumping right to the devotional, go back and read the verses above. I’ll wait……………………
I wanted you to be able to see something very significant. Follow along with me.
To accomplish the Divine plan for the restoration of man’s fellowship with the Father, Jesus became nothing. He emptied Himself of the glory of His deity, and took on the nature of a servant. He was made in human form and took on the physical appearance of a man to embody the servant nature. He lived the complete human experience, except He never sinned. He laughed and cried. He was hungry and ate food. He experienced pain and suffering. He felt every emotion we have felt. Yet His responses to those emotions always honored the Father. He was found in appearance to be human in every way.
But one thing was different about Him. It doesn’t have to be different, but it is. Jesus was on a journey to joy (Heb. 12:2) just as you and I are; yet there was one significantly different characteristic of His journey that we seem to have trouble with – He totally obeyed His Father in heaven. Any and every command given to Him by the Father was completely obeyed. Jesus admits in John 10:17-18 that He had the authority to respond to the command any way that He wanted to, but He chose to use His authority to obey. What motivated such obedience that He would choose to suffer and die horrendously for His sheep? What is necessary for us to become that obedient?
The key is in Philippians 2:8, where we see that Jesus “humbled Himself.” He had already chosen to empty Himself of the glory of His deity, and now He chose to empty Himself of the glory of humanity. This is imperative for us to both understand and to do.
Jesus could endure the cross and scorn its shame because He had emptied Himself of any need for human gratification. He was totally fixated on the fulfillment of God’s purpose. He modeled this to us during His temptation in the wilderness when He resisted every attempt by Satan to convince Him to accept worldly fulfillment and satisfaction. He succeeded at resisting because He had already emptied Himself of any desire to let His humanity govern His emotions and decisions. He had instead chosen to be governed by the Divine plan of God and the joy that would be His when it was accomplished. He wanted no glory as a man: He wanted only the glory of His Father.
Obedience results from humility. Disobedience is the pursuit of self. Our disobedience of the Father’s will is the cause for our lack of joy. Just as Jesus had the authority to choose to obey or not to obey, so God has not removed our right to choose. Jesus chose obedience because He had humbled Himself to God’s outcome. We choose disobedience because we want our outcomes. We must go back to the point of becoming nothing and humble ourselves. We must empty ourselves of all need for human glory and become obedient to the Divine will and purpose of God at all cost. Temptation will not deter us. Suffering will only strengthen our resolve. Death will no longer be a sting but will be our victory.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and the joy that is set before us when we will see Him face to face in all His glory. Let us run the race He has marked out for us with perseverance and power. And when the world shames us for our stand for Jesus, we will scorn it as meaningless compared to the glory we will experience in Christ’s presence someday.
Our battle cry is victory!
Our battle plan is obedience.
Our motivation is humility.
Lay down your life and allow Christ to take it up!