What are you thinking about and focusing on? Who or what captivates your attention? Where does your gaze fall? Is it mostly on you or on Jesus?
This is an important question for you because if your focus is on you, it will eventually create division among those around you. Selfishness is at the heart of almost every bit of strife in our lives.
Yet, Jesus is selfless in the way He gives His life away for you. So if your gaze is on Him, you will treat others as He is treating you.
Here’s how Paul put it:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:1-4
To be others focused is a revolutionary, world-shaking concept, especially since we live in a day and time when our gaze falls almost exclusively on the mirror. Most all our decisions, time, and resources are geared ultimately toward ourselves. With this kind of thinking, other people simply become a means to us getting what we want or us feeling better about ourselves. However, if you remember how you are united with Christ, and what His life and love mean to you, you can look beyond yourself to see and meet the need in someone else.
What would life be like if you started considering others more important than yourself? If you truly placed others’ needs before your own? Not out of a desire to be seen as “others focused,” but because you truly were rooted in the love of Christ and had something to give. Not only would it jar you from the central position in the story, a place our flesh longs for – but one that is best occupied by Jesus – it would put you in a posture where God can really use you. Can you imagine how different and beautiful our family – the Church – would be if we were all living this way?
But Paul knows this is a pretty high bar he has set. So he gives you an example to follow, and the example is the Son of God.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:6-8
Now that’s a great song. As the early church would sing these words together, they were reminded of the uniqueness, humility, and supremacy of Jesus. The words are rich, Christ-centric, and are dripping with solid theology.
Listen to what the song teaches us. Jesus was in very nature God, yet He didn’t hoard or cling to His Deity. Rather, He emptied Himself and took on flesh, He humbled Himself and took up the cross. Jesus didn’t need anyone, rather He chose to humble Himself. And further, Jesus surrendered in obedience to the plans and purposes of God.
Jesus wasn’t just a little obedient, He was obedient to the point of death. Jesus gave it all.
And not just any kind of death. His was one of the worst deaths imaginable – death on a cross. Jesus gave up His life and died on the symbol of guilt and shame, bearing the full wrath of the righteous justice of God because of our sin.
Paul is saying, set your attention on Him. Shape your mindset around Jesus. Think and act like He did. Woah! Astonishing.
The song continues:
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11
In the church tradition I grew up in, there would most certainly be a hearty “amen” inserted here. And there should be. Jesus is exalted. He holds the highest title in the universe. All of heaven says amen. But the song doesn’t stop there. And what comes next seals the deal. Instead of a period after the phrase “and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,” there is a comma of great significance. The verse continues, “that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord COMMA to the glory of God the Father.” That comma changed my life, and in the meaning of that comma Passion was born. That comma represents what we are rooted in and living for – that all things exist and all things have been done for God’s glory. Are you with me?
To truly live you must awaken to the reality of the comma.
You must come alive to the overarching purpose of the entire universe – which is the glory of God.
Yes, Christ came. And surely Christ humbled Himself. Christ died, was raised, and was lifted up again with the name above all others and with ultimate authority. All people will bow to His name. Every tongue will acknowledge Him. Everyone who has ever lived will recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that is all going to happen to the end that the greatness of God is put on display.
This will bring glory to the God of gods, who’s unlike any other god who has ever been seen or heard. It will bring praise to the One who comes for us, and surrenders for us, who dies in our place and raises us up to live again. The work of Christ did something for us, but all the glory is to God. And here, my friends, is where the “amen” belongs!
Excerpted with permission from Passion: the Bright Light of Glory by Louie Giglio, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2014.
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Where is your focus? What is your purpose? As a believer, is it on Jesus? Is your passion to give all glory to God? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily