By Heather Cox
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! - Philippians 2:5-8
When I am in the middle of a difficult or challenging situation, it is easy for me to start believing lies: You are the only one dealing with this. No one will understand. You are messing everything up. This nearly always happens at night, making things feel bigger, scarier, and more hopeless.
These times of fretting often lead me into myself, into my own mind and thoughts. It is a very self-centered process and I have to fight hard to get myself out of the lies and onto some solid truths that often are found in Scripture. Let’s consider today’s Advent passage to see how we can attempt to do this.
Humility: Verse 5 tells us our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Scripture reveals that Jesus seems to consistently be less concerned with himself and more concerned with the needs (and souls) of others. C.S. Lewis says that “true humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” How can we grow in humility to be more like Christ?
Service: I have found that when I intentionally look to serve others, it can help in a variety of ways. Often, it gives me perspective on my situation. It reminds me we were created to be in community and to walk alongside others and help them carry their burdens (Galatians 6:2). Serving others reminds me I am part of a bigger story and, shockingly, life is not all about me. How can we grow in service to be more like Christ?
Obedience: I used to think that obedience was something God required because He did not want me to have fun. Now that I am older and (sometimes) wiser, I have learned that obedience is God’s design to live a life of flourishing. Life just works better when I am walking the way He designed. How can we grow in obedience to be more like Christ?
The above passage in Philippians reveals to us what humility, service, and obedience look like. Jesus accomplished these things when He came to earth as a man. Growing in these areas helps us better handle the difficulties that life naturally brings. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we will one day live out these traits perfectly for all eternity. That eternity was birthed for us, just as he was.
At Christmas, Jesus not only was the template of humility, but showed us the way to a more abundant life. The Light of the world blazed a path for us to follow—in humility, service, and obedience, we lose frantic sight of ourselves, and we draw near to Jesus.