Summary: How to increase love in a relationship.

Love Increases When Power Decreases

Philippians 2:5-11

Frederick Nietzsche, one of the founders of modern existentialism, analyzed human personality and claimed the basic motivation behind all human behavior is “The Will to Power.” He said that it is the craving and the desire to have power that motivates people in relationships, even within the context of family. Some sociological claim marriages fail because people are more interested in playing "power" games than they are in playing "love" games. In any relationship, as love increases, power decreases; and likewise as power increases, love decreases.

That raises a very probing question, "Who is supposed to be the head of the house?" That is the wrong question. The Christian does not ask who is going to have the power, who is going to be the master? The Christian asks who is going to be the servant.

When we ask who is going to have the power, and who is going to be in charge around here, we are asking the same question that James and John asked Jesus when they said: "Master, when you come into your kingdom, who’s going to sit on your left hand, who’s going to sit on the right?" In other words, who is going to have the power?

Jesus answered: "If you understood my kingdom, you wouldn’t ask that question, because in my kingdom, those who would be first will be last, and those who are last will be first!" In the kingdom of heaven, those who have the most are the servants.

However, when the chips are down, and the game is on the line, what everybody wants to know is who is going to be in charge? Who is going to be in control? Who is going to have the power? Who is going to be in charge? That mindset dominates our society, it dominates our families, and more times, than any of us want to admit it dominates in the church. Everybody is trying to figure out who is going to be in control. When we ask these questions, we have not learned the lesson taught by Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, "Though being in very nature God, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant"

What did Paul mean when he said, "Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped"? Did he mean that Jesus really was not God, and did not really possess His power? The preexistent Christ was already equal with God in both power and nature. John 1:1 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." The Son of God was not created. No spirit or angel brought Him into the state of being with God, and nobody could ever bring Him out of it.

Our problem is, we often assume that "God-likeness" means having our own way, getting what we want, and being in control. However, Jesus tells us that "God-likeness," at its most fundamental level is about "giving ourselves away" and "pouring ourselves out." That is the message of the Incarnation.

Notice, what Paul said, "Jesus, though He was in the form of God," because He was in the form of God he considered equality with God not as a matter of getting but of giving.

Jesus Christ did what he did and came as he came and made the exchange from supremacy to sacrifice, because that is exactly what God would do. In fact, you could truthfully say he did what he did because He was God. This passage is telling us that God, by his very nature, is characterized not by selfishness, but by sacrificial giving.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him, "Lord, show us the Father." Do you remember what he said? He said, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father." Paul, in his letter to the Colossians said, "Christ is the image of the invisible God . . . For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him."

The Apostle Paul tells us because Jesus was in the form of God He emptied himself for the sake of others, and willingly poured himself out because it was His very nature to do so.

What did Christ empty Himself of, did He empty himself of His godly powers of omniscience, and omnipresence, and all of His divine substance or essence? What did He give up? The Apostle Paul gives us no clue as to what it was that Christ emptied Himself of, what is important we understand is what He added to Himself, the form of a servant in human likeness.

For thousands of years, God demonstrated his power in time and history. He scattered the enemies of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament the awesome power of God, that far surpasses the power of earthly kings, is revealed. Yet the God who could order empires around like pawns on a chessboard showed up wearing a different kind of glory, the glory of weakness. This God emerged as a baby who could not speak or eat solid food, and depended on a teenage girl for shelter, food, and love. Why would He come in that way?

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