Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace… (Romans 8:5-7)
You hear about people who win the lottery, and then turn around and squander all that money. They end up worse off than they started.
(That could never happen to me…and I would really appreciate the opportunity to prove it.)
Our freedom in Christ is like an inheritance—we are not responsible for how we earned it, but we are responsible for how we spend it. I’ll repeat my question from yesterday: What will you do with your freedom today? Will you live for yourself, for your own desires—for the sin nature? Or will you let your life be controlled by the Spirit, following the desires of the God who knows you so very well, and loves you beyond measure?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again with the yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Oh, Beloved, if you and I could just wrap our hearts around this.
You are not condemned.
You should be—of course you should be. Me, too. There aren’t enough digital pages in all of cyberspace to catalogue my sins. I am wretched, top to bottom, inside and out. I know that I am made in the image of God, but some days that image is so blurred…I deserve nothing but wrath and scorn and disgust and condemnation.
BUT I am not condemned.
You are not condemned.
We are free.
Realize that. Rest in that. Rejoice in that.
Now, Beloved, what will you do with your freedom today?
…to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11b)
It was all for the Father’s glory.
Exalted to the highest place…
given the name above all names…
every knee bowing…
every tongue confessing him Lord.
Looking back at this week’s verses, it seems that Christ’s whole purpose is to obey, and by obeying glorify, the Father. Yes, he came to die for us, but isn’t that also serving the higher purpose of glorifying God? He came, he died, he rose, to bring the Father glory.
For God so loved the world that he sent his Son…
Never has there been a life more worthy.
So, Beloved of Christ. What within you is “to the glory of God the Father?” What within you cries out to obey, and by obeying glorify, him?
Listen to that something.
Follow that something.
Have a good Friday.
…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord… (Philippians 2:11a)
I am so looking forward to this.
Just imagine it. Everyone who has ever mocked Christianity, everyone who has ever scoffed at the idea of Creationism, everyone who has ever lived a life that blasphemed the King of All—every last one will confess Jesus as Lord.
I know I shouldn’t gloat, and hopefully when the moment comes I will be too awestruck to gloat, but right now…thinking about it…
Let’s just call it reason #86 to be glad I’m not God.
…that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in Heaven, on Earth, and under the earth… (Philippians 2:10)
We’re not real big on kings here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Bowing the knee to anyone sort of sticks in our collective craw. After all, we fought a revolution to chuck the King of England over the side of the boat, and we haven’t missed him much. We’re an independent, self-sufficient, stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of people.
But we’re gonna bow—all of us.
Californians will bow.
New Yorkers will bow.
Republicans will bow.
Democrats will bow.
Angels will bow.
Demons will bow.
Your neighbor will bow.
You, my friend, will bow.
The question of the day is this: How does that make you feel? Do you (A) shift uncomfortably at the thought of giving up the last wisps of the illusion of independence, (B) tremble with joy at the thought of finally kneeling before the king of the universe, or (C) offer a halfhearted “meh” and go about your business?
Far be it from me to intrude, but may I suggest that if your answer is anything other than (B) you spend some time in conversation with the One to whom you will one day bow? It might make the whole experience more pleasant.
Just a thought.
…and gave him the name that is above all names… (Philippians 2:9b)
We know him by many names.
Lamb of God
Prince of Peace
Light of the World
The Bright Morning Star
Man of Sorrows
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The Author and Finisher of Our Faith
Bread of Life
God calls him by another name, the name which is above all names.
And here’s something really crazy. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, do you know what God now calls us?
Yes, you do.
How can that be? What can that mean?
Chew on that today.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place… (Philippians 2:9a)
This is profound and utterly beyond me.
The word “Therefore” indicates to me that Jesus was exalted as a result of his obedience to the Father. Yet he was raised to the position that was already his—the position he gave up when he came to us as a man. Why could he not simply claim by right that which was his from eternity? I am continually amazed, not only by Christ’s power, but by his willingness to restrain that power. I have no doubt that, if I were in his place, I would not have waited for the Father to exalt me. I would have exalted myself.
Reason #42 to be glad I’m not God.
Last week my mother-in-law went in for a CAT scan to find out if months of chemotherapy and radiation did the trick.
I want to do this.
I don’t want to do this.
The parking lot is full—can we go home?
The waiting room is full—perhaps they won’t have time for me today.
Maybe the machine will break…maybe the lab tech will get violently ill from eating bad sushi and they’ll have to reschedule.
I want to know.
I don’t want to know.
I need to know.
When will I know?
I sort through magazines, looking for something
as if anything could possibly hold my attention
I’m surrounded by people.
I’m all alone.
each wrapped in a cocoon
What will they find with their
If it’s gone, do I get my life back?
If it’s not, do I have the strength
No one understands.
and I am so cold
God, you have never seemed so close.
Or so far away.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)
He didn’t have to die—you know that.
He chose to die, for reasons I still can’t fully grasp. I mean, I understand the basic theological concept of redemption. He who knew no sin, taking the burden of my sin upon himself, dying in my place to pay the price for that sin and restore my relationship to the Father. He took the punishment because—and here’s where my brain locks up—he thinks I’m worth it.
I hope he’s right.
I can’t wrap my head around the concept, but I can wrap my heart around it.
Still, the whole thing is just so very not the way I would have done it.
And there you go, folks—reason #37 to be glad I am not God.
Thank you, Lord, that you were willing to pay the price I could never pay.
Thank you, Father, that it did not end with the cross.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7)
He was perfect.
He knew everything
Everything that has ever been was made with the thought of his heart and the breath of his mouth.
But he stepped down from all that into a broken world. A world of
That is the attitude to which we are called, Beloved. We step into that same world today. We may know
Are you up to the challenge?
Let’s pray for each other today, Beloved.