Who am I? What is my purpose? What is God’s will for my life?
When Jesus prepared for his death, wrestling with being the final sacrificial lamb for the nation of Israel and the world, he sweat drops of blood. He begged his disciples to watch and pray with him. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He said. Watch and pray. Grieved to the point of death. His disciples could not pray. They were emotional. They fell asleep.
What was on Christ’s mind that day that changed history? What he faced? The will of the Father? His disciples? The future church to be birthed from his sacrifice? All of the above.
When I think of Jesus, Philippians 2 says it better than my words ever could:
Be Like Christ
2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So here we have it, folks. The Son of God.
Pouring out himself as an example for us.
Everywhere I turn I see Christian culture smack against what Jesus himself calls us to be and do. Western culture has reduced faith in Christ to a mental acknowledgment of a God like dude who wants us to find our best life now.
Jesus calls us to come and die.
Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
But, in the west, and in our flesh, perhaps, we proclaim independence, freedom and liberty. While, Christians tout freedom in Christ and living by the Spirit and not by the flesh, we live very much according to the flesh.
The flesh is our God. (Romans 6 says “You are a slave to the one whom you obey.”) The flesh rules our days and nights. Take, for example, the plight of young people today. In high school, and even middle school now a days, they are asked, “What are YOU going to do with YOUR life?” YOLO.
Adults in middle age wistfully look back on the years spent and wonder, “Where did the time go? What did I do with my life? How many more years of productivity will I enjoy?”
Single people roam about the internet and their eyes scan rooms looking and wondering if any of these people could be “the one.” Those of you reading this who are not married yet, may feel like you are racing against the clock. You may feel a great burden of rejection and “What is wrong with me?” Loneliness sets in and a hunger gnaws at your insides.
We live for today. Some live in the moment. Some live for the future. Others live in the glorious past. It is human nature and the frailty of our condition, to live for self and to establish a name for ourselves, to rise above the din of humanity and be different, somehow to be distinguished… Somehow…not to be normal.
Jesus did not ask, “How does this glorify me?” He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. (He gave up his glory to serve the Father’s commands.) Yes. Jesus himself submitted. Jesus bowed. Jesus gave. He didn’t just die. He gave up everything to serve those who didn’t deserve it. He loved so intensely, but he also believed so greatly in the Father’s will, the Father’s plan. And we say we want to be like him. I’m not so sure.
We go about planning our work and working our plans. We look for earthly significance. We ask for “God’s will for us,” and what we really mean is, “God make ME something. God help ME to have significance.”
Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing.
And the world mocks. The world says, “You just need your time.” “Do something for yourself.” “Be all that YOU can be.” And self is our master. No wonder we feel “OFF”. God created us for so much more than what we can ask or imagine. Maybe we have been looking in the wrong places?
to be continued….