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One-a-Day...for the Heart: He Emptied Himself

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bondservant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason, also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name (Philippians 2:5-9 NASB).

No one ever had to confront Jesus on being prideful or puffed up. He was the Son of God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Yet, He emptied Himself of deity and royalty to become a man and die a most torturous, humiliating death of crucifixion so that we could be forgiven of our sin, then justified and accepted by the Father. Heaven will be our home because Jesus emptied Himself.

Many people spend a lifetime pursuing education, position, stature, wealth, favor, popularity, etc., so that their reputation, accomplishments, and possessions stand out in paramount importance. A person can become so full of himself that he is unreachable, living in an unreal world of his own. When Jesus emptied Himself, He made Himself of no reputation. He gave up His divine privileges. He humbled Himself to become a bondservant in the likeness of men. However, by becoming one of us, He did not empty Himself of Godhood. He did not stop being part of the Trinity, nor did He stop being what He was eternally.

The greatest person in the Kingdom of God, according to Jesus, is the one who humbly becomes a servant of all. Regarding a place of greatness in God’s Kingdom, He [Jesus] sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, ‘Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else’ (Mark 9:35 NLT). Jesus excelled at being a servant, to the point of laying down his life for us. That was the emptiest of empty, the lowest of low, the humblest of humble. He emptied Himself of all comfort for us.

My life is relatively comfortable, and I’m unaware of personal enemies. God has blessed me enough to live nicely, and I’m very grateful. Am I learning to serve and empty myself? How can we do that?

The Philippians passage gives a simple explanation. Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had (Philippians 2:3-5 NLT).

A remarkable thing occurs as we empty ourselves and begin serving and preferring one another over ourselves. We become full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—the fruit of the Spirit. Each of those traits radiated from Jesus as He emptied Himself. He was full of the character of God as He emptied Himself of all human reputation and worth.

We empty ourselves of ourselves. By humbling ourselves, serving others as Christ did, and learning more about Him, we become more and more full of His character and nature. How full? Ephesians 4:12-13 says that as we mature in the Lord’s ways, we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Now that’s full!

© 2023, Chris Werre

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