BE LIKE JESUS
I want us today to look into Philippians 2:1-5. We will focus on verse 5. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”
What is an attitude? An attitude is much more than an opinion and much more than a mere feeling. An attitude is an opinion that is acted upon. For example, a person may feel that he or she is more superior to those around them and it hurts no one. Yet, if that person starts acting more superior and says certain things, then it is an attitude. Another example, a person may not like you. You may never know that they dislike you unless they act on it or say certain things, and then we know about their "attitude."
Attitudes come in all varieties. Attitudes can be good or bad; positive or negative; beautiful or ugly; optimistic or pessimistic; helpful or hurtful. Typically, bad attitudes derive from our nature. Good attitudes, on the other hand, come from nurture. That tells us that our nature is negative, while good attitudes have to be developed, fed, nurtured so that they grow and become a strong factor in our behavior.
Now, going back to verse 5 considering the attitude which was in Christ Jesus:
Who was Jesus? Gregory of Nazianzus, 381AD wrote this description of Jesus which shows us much of the attitude of Christ:
He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life. Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water. Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is our King. Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons. Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears. Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world. Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
Jesus knew who He was, yet He did not demonstrate the attitude of being higher or superior or more important than anyone else. If we read further in Philippians chapter 2, we find that Jesus knew that He was God. And, as God He could have lived without hunger and thirst. He could have avoided ever being tired or weary; He could never have cared enough to weep over the death of His friend.
But, because His attitude was that of a servant He humbled Himself and became a man – human – for a time, for the specific purpose of leading us to salvation out of our sin and into eternal life with Him in Heaven
So, if we want to be like Jesus, it requires that we make a choice. Following Jesus does not come to us naturally. It must be a conscious, life-changing, attitude adjusting choice. It must be a lifelong, permanent choice.
Like most things in our lives that are worthwhile or of any value, attaining the attitude of Christ is costly. Martin Luther once said, "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing."
What did Jesus’ attitude choice cost Him? Remember that Jesus is God who came to earth in human form. On earth Jesus was a real person at a real point in time that lived in a certain place. God is above time and eternal and not bound by any one place or any one point in time. God is omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing) and omnitemporal (eternal, outside of time) and omnipresent (everywhere).
What did Jesus’ choice cost Him? Verse 6 tells us that the choice of Jesus to come to Earth cost Him equality with God. Jesus of course remained God, but not in the same sense. The Oneness that had always existed from the beginning of Creation was changed when Jesus arrived in Mary’s womb.
The attitude of Christ cost Him His earthly life. Jesus was a real person and lived His life for thirty-three years before He died on the cross. He had friends and family members. He ate and drank. He wept. He laughed. He had hardships and temptations. The choice of Jesus to save you and me cost Him that life.
The attitude of Christ is that of a servant. Verse 7 tells us that Jesus was taking "the very nature of a servant." What does that mean? What is Jesus’ attitude? What is the attitude of a servant?
A servant is Available to those who need to be served.
A servant is Humble, ready to put others’ needs before his own.
A servant is willing. A servant does not serve because he is forced to do so.
Philippians 2: 9-11 describes how Jesus was exalted in Heaven because of what He had done. Jesus’ attitude allowed Him to become King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All people will bow before Him. Jesus became great because He was a servant.
If we want our faith to grow; if we want to be like Jesus Christ, we must take on the attitude of a servant.
Gary K Fair