Imitating Christ’s Humility

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset 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! 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 2:11

The days gradually take on more light and the birds begin their slow return. Just this morning I saw a flock of hundreds silhouetted against the burning sky—flying over the freeway. I craned my neck in wonder and let myself get lost in their soar. Where have you been? What have you seen? I wanted to call upward as they inked out the sky. But they did not hear my heart-cry. They did not look down.

Sometimes I find it easier to see God in these creatures of his rather than in the faces of his sons and daughters. And yet, Jesus became one of us. The Scripture says he was found in appearance as man. This text in Philippians, in the NIV version, says that he made himself nothing. Being in very nature God…he made himself nothing. The NRSV says he emptied himself. It’s the Greek verb form kenó—“to empty”.

In Christian theology, we call it kén sis—the voluntary emptying of the own will and surrendering to God’s. We try to do this during Lent, do we not? Through fasting and sacrificing little pleasures, we shed the excess trappings and make room for God. Lent is about the open hand—a holding loosely to the things of earth. He cannot fill that which is not emptied, after all. Yet, we forget that in his self-emptying, Jesus embodied love. In the incarnation, God who is love steps into flesh, and this very emptying himself of the divine nature becomes a way of giving. A way of loving. The old saying is found true—love is the only thing that increases the more it is given away.

As I journey to the cross, is it possible for me to see emptying myself as a way of giving? Is it possible for me to see God in the faces of the people I encounter each day—to let his presence there empty me into the serving of others? For this is where I encounter the living Christ: while washing the feet of those he loves.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What is one way you can serve others this Lenten season? What are the ways you have seen God move this season? Do you make it a practice to look for God in the faces of his children? What does it look like to you to empty yourself?

PRAYER: Jesus, we thank you. We thank you for giving us a model of how to empty ourselves of our own desires and lose ourselves in the service of others. What a gift it is to join you in your work in this world. Fill us with the love you freely give away. In your name we pray. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.