Reading: Philippians 2: 5-11
Verse 5: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.
Paul open this passage by admonishing us to have the same attitude as Christ had. It is an attitude that Paul modeled and he is urging his readers to do the same. This, of course, is the goal of our faith – to become more and more like Christ each day.
In the following verses Paul spells out what it looks like to have the attitude of Christ. He does so by reminding us what Jesus himself was like. Christ entered the world by making himself ‘nothing’, taking on the flesh and living as a humble servant. At the end of a faithful and obedient life, Christ demonstrated the ultimate in obedience as He surrendered to death on a cross. Because of Jesus’ obedience and faithfulness here on earth, God exulted Him to the highest place in heaven so that at the mention of His name all knees would bow.
Paul had the authority to write of these things and to call the Philippians to live this way because it was the life Paul himself also modeled. Paul lived as a humble servant and poured himself out so that others could come to know Jesus. Paul’s radical obedience to the gospel parallels Jesus’ radical obedience to God. Paul walks the walk that he is calling us to walk. Paul walked the walk even though he faced much persecution and abuse. Paul has been ostracized, beaten, whipped, shipwrecked, and imprisoned. Instead of abandoning or lessening his faith, the trials have strengthened Paul’s faith. We too experience this same growth and transformation when we take on the attitude of Christ and live with a radical obedience and sure faith.
Ironically, Paul writes this letter calling us to take on and live out the attitude of Christ as a humble servant and obedient believer while sitting in prison. He has been sent to a Roman prison on trumped up charges. He sits in jail continuing to do what he does – calling for us to be humble servants and faithful disciples. Paul sits in jail calling for obedience perhaps knowing full well that he will soon be martyred. Paul is not afraid or discouraged. He calls on all other followers of Jesus Christ to do just what he is doing himself – offer a radical way of life to the world as a witness to the Savior we love and follow. May it be so for us today.