Lent Devotions: Day 6 and Day 7
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
…rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (v. 7, NIV)
People don’t like limitations. We like to constantly improve. Since the Garden of Eden, when we come up against an obstacle, we crush it, move it, integrate it, protest it, or ignore it. The last option almost always would be to submit to it and serve it.
What a sharp contrast to the way of Jesus, who willingly took on the nature of a servant. Because of his unique relationship with the Father, he had the power to call down angels (Matthew 26:53) but didn’t use his power like a trump card when life got hard. Instead, every time someone wanted to elevate him, he lowered himself. He sought out the lonely, talked to the outcast, healed the untouchable, discipled unlikely followers, washed dirty feet, and called religious bigotry what it was. Eventually, he endured the cross “for the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2).
Humans buck up against limitations and often seek more power, control, beauty and wealth in efforts to validate our lives. In the world’s eyes, people with these things must be doing something right. But following Christ means embracing our limitations and the Lenten realities that we are sinful, rebellious and lacking in self-control.
Jesus shows us the way to the top is found in humble obedience and service. –Amy Blackledge
Prayer: You made yourself nothing to rescue us. Help us follow you into this great mystery.
The Mindset of Jesus
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage… (v. 5-6, NIV)
It is encouraging to hear that, with unlimited power at his disposal, Jesus chose to lay down his heavenly advantage for a life in the dust. In today’s passage, Paul asks the Philippians to follow Christ’s example by having a similar mindset of humility.
Jesus’ humility flowed out of knowing that he was one with the Father. Because he had nothing to prove, he was able to keep his mind and heart free of distractions. He could hear each word that God spoke to him: each nuance, each instruction and each request for obedience that drew him closer to the cross. I think the same is true for us. When we accept and see ourselves bearing the priceless value God placed on us as sons and daughters, we are in a position to love and listen well to others. We are ready to have the mindset of Christ.
Allow this Lenten journey to draw you closer to knowing how deeply you are loved by God. Learn to listen for his voice in light of his great love, undistracted by needing to prove anything. May both joy and humility flow from practicing the mindset of Jesus. –Amy Blackledge
Prayer: Dear Father, draw my heart to the humility of the cross and Jesus, who considered your will there above all else.