but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.Philippians 2:7(NASB)
Our natural inclination is to place ourselves in the centre of everything and to think how we are going to be affected by this and that, before we consider the needs, necessities or feelings of others - before we consider the desire of God's heart. Indeed even when we do exhibit 'caring concern', how often our choices are rooted in selfish pride, knowing that our 'thoughtful' actions will excite the applause of others and feed our ego, which will only result in a selfish smugness or a self-absorbed pride!!
And yet this was not the attitude of the Lord Jesus Who set side His heavenly glory in order to be made in the likeness of sinful man. Jesus looked to the needs of others before He considered Himself. The One Who is the very essence of God, and Who is complete in Himself considered your needs and mine before His own, when He emptied Himself.. and took upon Himself the form of a slave - for He knew that the sacrifice of Himself was the only way that we could be saved from our scarlet sins; our gross sinfulness; our selfish smugness and our self-absorbed pride.
God the eternal Son and divine Creator did not try to keep hold of all that is His by right of His unique position and person, but humbled Himself and laid aside His glory, in order to become subject to His Father and live as man was originally created to live - only doing those things that He heard from His Father and only acting on the instructions of the Holy Spirit.
He was still fully God in every sense of the word, for the Word was God and the Word became flesh and He dwelt amongst us. During His sojourn on earth the Lord Jesus was still omniscient, still omnipotent and even still omnipresent - but He emptied Himself of His positional equality with God and veiled His divine glory within human flesh - a Body that God had prepared for Him in the womb of His earthly mother. Jesus was fully human yet fully God - the unique God-Man. This was the one and only 'hypostatic union' of God and Man - uniting the humanity of Jesus with the divinity of God - in one unique.. individual Person.
Yet He veiled His glory, emptied Himself of His glory, left His place in heaven and took upon Himself the form of a bond-servant by becoming a real Man. There is no more worthy example of selfless humanity and gracious humility than our Saviour Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the example that we are called upon to follow - but a road which is often thwarted by our selfish smugness and our self-absorbed pride.
We are challenged daily to let THIS mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.. and to choose to follow the path of the cross by setting aside our own natural inclination to place self on the throne of our lives - and in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.. and by means of the new life of Christ - to empty ourselves of 'Self' and become a servant of all - for His sake Who loved us so much that He died that we might live.
Heavenly Father, the truth of Christ's incarnation is wonderful and full of glory.. that Christ should set aside His glory and leave His position in heaven to come to earth as a bondservant, and to die on the cross for the sin of fallen humanity. Thank You for opening up my understanding to His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection and that in HIM I have life - to Whom be all praise and glory, AMEN.
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