5 Aug 2014
Of late the Lord has focused my attention on a passage in Philippians. This passage will, when taken seriously and applied diligently, impact every part of our lives including the power and effectiveness of our prayers.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB95)
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.
In this passage we have the specific instruction as to what kind of an attitude we should have and maintain. Arguably one of the most significant things about us is our attitude. Our attitude appreciably impacts our actions.
Paul is encouraging the recipients of this letter [ and us ] to have and to hold deeply the attitude that was held inseparably by Jesus. This attitude is described as one that did not hold on to the honor and glory of being the Creator of the Universe, but in obedience to His Father, Jesus held not the attitude that He must be honored or held in high esteem, except by His Father. While Jesus was often dishonored deeply by man He was always honored by His Father. This was without doubt a reciprocal arrangement since Jesus consistently sought to bring honor and glory to His Father.
John 6:38 (NASB95)
38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 7:18 (NASB95)
18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
John 8:29 (NASB95)
29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
There seems to be a theme running through the verses above, the theme that Jesus considered only the plans and the glory of His Father worthy of His consideration. Jesus’ focus was to always do the will of His Father doing all things that were pleasing in His sight.
John 5:44 (NASB95)
44 "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
We see that a central part of the humility of Jesus was a desire for the approval of His Father alone. When we seek the glory and approval of men our core motive is pride. Conversely when we seek only to bring glory to God we are in so doing seeking out of a heart of humility.
It required indescribable humility for Jesus, very God, to come to earth from heaven in the form of a human baby or for that matter in any human form. But Jesus did not only humble Himself to be found in the likeness of men, but He humbled Himself further to voluntarily become a slave, a slave to the will of His Father. But Jesus’ humility did not slow or weaken at the point of becoming a slave, but it continued strong to the point of death, even death on a cross.
In light of this example, how then shall we think and live? If this attitude is to be in us we must empty our eyes from looking at ourselves and fill them with the constant looking to our Father.
If this attitude is to be in us we must empty our minds of the desires to please ourselves and fill our minds with the desires to obey and please our Father in all things.
If this attitude is to be in us we must empty our hearts of all selfish and self- promoting thoughts and desires and fill our heart with the deep desire to bring glory to our Father and our God.
If this attitude is to be in us we must empty our hands from grasping and holding the possessions of this world and the passions that it promotes and grasp and hold on to the word of God and the filling of His Spirit until we humbly become obedient to the death of self and alive to deep and abiding intimacy with our Savior.
How then will having and holding this attitude of humility improve the power and effectiveness of our prayers? John gives us this immutable promise:
and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. - 1 John 3:22