We are either the victors or the victims of pour attitudes. We get to choose that.
These next few verses are the ultimate passage in this wonderful letter to the Philippians. However, in the introduction to this letter I reminded us that Paul was addressing a church with problems from those who insist on extra rules such as circumcision but also 2 ladies that have caused a war in the church through their arguing. That’s the context.
The next time you are in an argument. The next time you are thinking of storming out of the church door because ‘there’s no love here’, the next time pride rises within you so that you will not back down because you are right; the next time you are about to write someone off; the next time that you are about to win and someone is about to lose think of these verses:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2: 5-8)
This is the ultimate passage because it reveals a decision made by Jesus in His pre-earthly state. That decision said, “Today, it is not about me.”
Of all that is in heaven, Jesus, Son of God, part of the Godhead, is hearing cries day and night, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.” Beings are laying prostrate, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. “ (Revelation 4)
From this position of power and of who He really is said, “Today it’s not about me.”
A Servant (noun) one who serves, or does services, voluntarily or on compulsion; a person who is employed by another for menial offices, or for other labour, and is subject to his command;
A person who labours or exerts himself for the benefit of another, his master or employer; a subordinate helper
A devoted and helpful follower or supporter.
Now what’s the argument, really?
From Saul Bellow’s collection of traditional Jewish tales comes this story:
In a small Jewish town of Russia, there is a rabbi who disappears each Friday morning for several hours. His devoted disciples boast that during those hours their rabbi goes up to heaven and talks to God.
A stranger moves into town and he’s sceptical about all this, so he decides to check things out. He hides and watches. The rabbi gets up in the morning, says his prayers, and then dresses in peasant clothes. He grabs an axe, goes off into the woods and cuts some firewood, which he then hauls to a shack on the outskirts of the village. There an old woman and her sick son love. He leaves them the wood, enough for a week, and then sneaks back home.
Having observed the rabbi’s actions, the newcomer stays on in the village and becomes his disciple. And whenever he hears one of the villagers say, “On Friday morning our rabbi ascends all the way to heaven, “the newcomer quietly adds, “If not higher.”
Have we forgotten the way to heaven?