Focal passage: Philippians 2:1-15
Paradox is a good word to help us understand the kingdom of God. To our limited minds, the way God works seems senseless at times. God’s desire for us to be humble can often seem that way. How can the way to joy be found through removing ourselves from the center of our own world? Yet, this is the exact pathway to joy. We are called not to make ourselves small or significant. After all, we are made in the divine image of God. However, we are called to walk in humility. How do we do this? We consider others better than ourselves.
When we hear this, some of us automatically may want to become defensive. Our pride wants to immediately defend itself. To consider someone better than ourselves is counter-cultural, after all. We are taught to center ourselves in every narrative. Succeed at all costs. Make a name for ourselves. But the gospel teaches us something entirely different.
Jesus, who was literally God incarnate was a servant. Though He was God, He did not use His deity to His advantage. He came to serve even those who would not love Him in return. In doing this, He was perfectly obedient to God the father. Jesus’ obedience ultimately led Him to His death, and a shameful one at that. He painted for us the ultimate example of humility.
Paul told the Philippian church to live this way, stating that their humility and unity would make his joy complete. When we are obedient to God through service and humility, we experience joy as believers. We can have joy knowing that Jesus has gone before us. His humility is the reason why we can now have a perfect relationship with God. We find joy when we reflect this attribute of God in our own lives.