Summary: As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to have the same mind as Jesus Christ, which includes obeying our Heavenly father even through difficulties.
Today’s message is based on our reading from Philippians chapter 2, verses 5 to 11.
Now to understand this text a little clearer it is helpful to look at the few verses before hand.
We see that this text addresses the church,
the Body of Christ.
It addresses each one of us as members of the church and how we relate to each other.
And as disciples of Jesus Christ the context of this text is that we should consider not only our own interests but also the interest of others.
With this in mind let us reflect on these verses again.
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature a God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature b of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
This reading from Philippians is one of this special verses for me from scripture.
It has had a significant impact on my Christian journey.
For at least 2 reasons.
The first is simple it was one of the first passages of scripture I read when I returned to the church,
when my relationship with God began to be renewed.
Secondly it answers a question that bugged me for years.
You see I was born into a Christian family, baptised only a few months after my birth.
I had heard repeatedly the Good News that Jesus died on the cross for me.
That God had done everything necessary to save me.
That Jesus had suffered and died for me.
However there was a question that kept bothering me.
And the question goes something like this.
How does this amazing action from God affect my life both now and in the future?
If I am saved what next?
Do you ever ask that question?
Well this passage gives us an answer to such a question.
The question of how does salvation affect my life now and in the future.
Well for a start this passage clearly indicates that Jesus guarantees eternal life.
That the action of Jesus of being obedient to his father even though it lead him suffering and dieing
Meant that me and you are guaranteed the benefit of eternal life.
But this passage says far more than that.
Listen again to verse 5
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
It doesn’t say we should do exactly as Christ does, but we should have the same attitude as Christ.
The NRSV bible says
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to have the same mind as Jesus in my relationships with others.
This is a mind that perseveres even when there are major difficulties.
A mind that doesn’t just do things for myself.
A mind that encourages me to be humble.
A mind that encourages me to put myself out so others can benefit, even it means encountering uncomfortable situations.
Now as I reflect on my own life I realise that I don’t mind encountering difficulties or challenges.
I don’t mind obeying others.
On one proviso, I can see that I will benefit.
However the call that each one of us has in being a disciple of Jesus Christ
Is to go through difficulties not only for our own benefit, but also the benefit of others.
To persevere through difficulties so others can benefit.
There is however one part of me that repels this wonderful piece of scripture from Philippians.
The piece of scripture that talks about obeying.
Fortunately it is only one part of me.
Why do you think this part of me responds negatively?
Well Psalm 51 verse 2 provides an insight
Psalm 51:5 says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Scripture tells me that by nature I will not want to obey, instead I would rather rebel.
However it is not just scripture that tells me that without Christ’s involvement in my life I will resist obeying.
Experience tells me that no one had to teach us to disobey.
Put two young children in a room with one toy and see what happens.
Their response can probably best summed up by a recent comic strip of the Baby Blues