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?

Two thousand years ago, when the all-powerful God decided that the time had come to express his love in infinite fashion. In order to express His infinite love, the infinitely powerful God, knowing that love increases as power decreases, set aside infinite power. Yet as obvious as that message is, even in the church, we often fail to catch up to the message of the kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus disciples were upset with Him because He did not act more "Messiah-like." The chosen people of God have been upset ever since. Everywhere you turn in the history of the church there is a power play at work. Yet the truth has not changed, and history is clear, when the people of God use the tools of the world’s kingdom, we become as ineffectual and oppressive, as any other power structure.

We can have all power at our disposal; even have armies at our command. However, if we take that path, do not think for one moment that we can then come back and say, "In the name of Jesus, we love you."

Love is the most transforming power in time and history. It is time for Christians in the midst of a power-crazed age to stand up and say no more. We have come to declare the love of God, believing that the fabric of our world will not be changed with guns, tanks, and planes, but through the infinite love of God.

What are we saying; any time we do not understand the limits of our power, we are destined to abuse our power.

You say, "There are certain things that will never change without power and the use of force." If that is true why did God come to this earth as a baby? He could have come leading an army, forcing the world to bend their knee. Why did He not come leading an army? God’s purpose in coming to earth was not to defeat people it was to transform them. Power can drive people into submission, but only love can convert them, that is the way of the kingdom of God.

Our God is able to accomplish more in our weakness than we can in our power! That is what makes us most as Christ is not our ability to control, but our willingness to love. Somehow, the love of God reveals itself more beautiful in those who seem to be nothing, than in those who think themselves to be something. The message from the kingdom of God is, "Whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it."

"Whoever will exalt himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."