When I was little, one of my favorite movies to watch was Cinderella. It’s the story of a young girl who grows up in unfortunate circumstances as a slave to her evil stepmother. She eventually meets a handsome prince and becomes a princess with unbelievable fortune. The original movie was made in 1950, and since then there have been countless movies that are based off of this same story line. It is an old story that has continued to captivate many audiences. Who doesn’t like the idea of a poor peasant girl suddenly finding love and gaining the world to escape her life of harsh submission and inferiority? It’s appealing to the youngest eyes and to the oldest imagination. Our culture is fascinated with the idea of poor becoming rich, the inexperienced becoming successful, and the slave becoming king.
Though this kind of thinking enthralls the natural mind, we as Christians are ruled by a different train of thought in the Word of God. When I read the Bible, it is obvious how “backwards” it’s script is compared to what appeals to our culture and the natural mind. God’s thoughts and ways are not ours, and therefore His ways are perfect though we may not understand them. In Philippians chapter two, the ways of God follow this same peculiar pattern in the person of Jesus Christ. What it tells us of Him is first…
Jesus Was Emptied
The life of Christ here on earth totally goes against everything we would expect. From the very start, Christ was born not in a palace or place of royalty but in a dirty stable meant for animals. Then we read in verse six that even though He was God in the flesh, He submitted Himself to the form of a slave when He came to earth. Why would the King of kings and Lord of lords empty Himself and take on the form of a slave in coming to earth? Isn’t that the opposite of anything glorious? It’s supposed to be a poor man becoming rich and the slave becoming king that entices us into Christianity, right?
This is the magnificent way of our God! You see, without the humility of Christ emptying Himself, we would not have salvation. The humility of Christ emptying Himself out of obedience to the Father led Him to die on a cross. And it’s His death on the cross that makes us rich though we’re poor and free though we are slaves! Rich through the grace of God abounding to us (Ephesians 1:6) and free from sin and death as His servants (Galatians 5:1,Romans 8:1-4)! This seemingly backward plan that God had from the very beginning is our only hope of having a relationship with Him. Christ emptying Himself meant salvation for us!
Jesus Is Exalted
Jesus emptying Himself and coming to die for us here on earth is not the end of the story. Verse nine tells us that because Jesus submitted Himself to this plan of redemption, He is exalted forever! The Bible tells us that through Jesus all things were created, and He is King over all creation. By Him all things are held together. His name is above every name, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The dirty stable was only the beginning. The humility of the life He lived here on earth was a part of the Father’s redemptive plan for mankind. Christ being exalted means that He is raised to the highest rank, there is none above Him. There is no competition. God has put all things under Him, and He is the head of His church, which is you and me!
This passage tells us of the nature of Christ and the plan of God the Father, but it also tells us that our attitude should be the same (verse five). Our lives are to follow this same pattern of selflessness and servant hood that Christ has shown from the beginning. Christianity is not about becoming the greatest and receiving unbelievable fortune, but it is the opposite. It’s about dying so that we may truly live (Luke 9:23-24). It’s about humility before exaltation (1 Peter 5:6). And it’s about offering ourselves as a slave to God so that we may truly be free (1 peter 2:16)!
This kind of thinking does not sit well with the natural mind, but when you come to know Christ, it somehow makes sense. Shane and Shane wrote a song entitled “In You” that says, “In you I find my rest, In you I find my death. In you I find my all and my emptiness, somehow it all makes sense. In you I’m rich when I’ve been made poor. Comfort found when I mourn. The prideful one you see from afar, drawing near to low broken hearts.” I pray that when you read the Word of God, He will align your heart with this peculiar way of Christ and God’s magnificent plan of redemption for you and me through the emptying and exaltation of Christ our Savior!
Jesus, You are King of kings and Lord of lords! There is none above You, and there is none beside You. I praise You for coming to earth to serve rather than be served so that we might taste the grace of God in salvation. Thank You for leaving heaven and coming to earth to die so that my heart can truly live! I pray that You would change my thoughts that I may choose Your perfect way instead of the ways of this world.
1 Corinthians 15:27
“In You” by Shane and Shane
“He Is Exalted” by Shane and Shane