Christ’s Attitude; February 6, 2023

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

The Japanese links the magnificent description of Christ’s attitude in verses 6-11 explicitly with what Paul has said in verses 3-4. That’s not to say that those are different, but I like the way this verse stands by itself in English. We should never forget that Jesus Christ is our example, our standard, if you will. When we remember that, all room for personal pride is gone, because we measure up to that standard only to the degree that we abide in Him, fully submitted to His Spirit. We have no room to complain about anything that is asked of us, because whatever it is it couldn’t approach what He did for us. We tend to complain about all sorts of things, when Jesus left the glory of heaven to become a human being for our sake, and it wasn’t just for a casual visit. He put up with diapers and skinned knees and all the mess of being a child, and then did hard physical labor as a carpenter, sweat and all. On top of that, when He started His public ministry He was not only opposed by the authorities, even His own family thought He was crazy. Betrayed by one of those closest to Him, He was put through a humiliating show trial and then scourged. A significant percentage of those scourged died from the shock and blood loss involved. And then He was crucified, stripped naked and nailed to a cross in the cruelest manner possible. Some martyrs today go through some pretty horrible stuff, but it still doesn’t top what Jesus went through for us. That He was willing to go through that to procure salvation for us is the attitude that we should always keep in our awareness, so that by His grace it may also be reflected in us.

I come back to this from time to time when I am tempted to complain about some part of my life experience. I could never top Jesus! The Bible doesn’t touch on it, but He also suffered loss, since Joseph had evidently died by the point He started His public ministry. I wonder if He wished for permission to heal Joseph, even though it was not yet time for Him to be revealed? He never married, though He was a healthy man, so He dealt with all the issues of chaste sexuality. Any way I look at it, I’ve got nothing to complain about! However, I’m not to dwell on what He suffered so much as glory in what He has provided for me. His suffering was certainly not in vain, and He will not waste any suffering I go through either. We not only have the promise of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” we also have Paul’s comments about “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24) Precisely what that second reference means has been hotly debated, but I do know that if anything I suffer could be useful to God in His plan, then I’m willing, even if I don’t see how it works. I indeed want to have the attitude of Jesus Christ.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the small taste of suffering I am having. It doesn’t compare to what Cathy has been and is going through, but it’s a blessing. Help me also submit such things as my frustration with computer issues to You, knowing that they too are totally insignificant compared to what You put up with in children who won’t listen to You. May I indeed rest, relax, and rejoice, just as You have told me to do, whatever is going on around me. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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