Friday, December 14, 2007

Coming to the End of Ourselves

I loved the awesome commentary that I was reading on Esther & Ruth, but alas, it's over. For this last little stretch before Joshua Owen or Connor David is born, my hubby suggested that I spend some time in Philippians. I have always loved the book of Philippians. The way that Paul is so centrally focused on the cross is always a compelling and refreshing reminder for me to do the same. Along with reading in God's Word, I've been using D.A. Carson's "Basics for Believers," a very helpful and applicable-to-life commentary of Philippians.

Check out this quote that I read yesterday concerning the incredible passage in Philippians 2 where we are shown the ultimate example of sacrifice and love:

"To take up your cross means you have passed all point of possible reprieve, all point of hope that you will once again be able to pursue your own interests; you are on your way to death...So for Jesus' disciples to take up their cross...is to say, in spectacularly metaphorical terms, that they are to come to the end of themselves-no matter how costly that death-in order to follow Jesus."

Compare this to Jesus' example in Philippians 2:6,7 "who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing...". When reflecting on this passage, Carson talked about how ultimately that means that Jesus gave up all of His rights (though He was still God). Are there not about a million ways that I can benefit from soaking in that example of humility? Jesus is God so He deserved everything; He actually had rights to comfort and honor and glory and praise. I am not God; I am a created being, a finite sinner. Any rights that I think I have are perceived rights because in actuality, I am now a slave of Christ since He purchased me with His own blood.

I cannot begin to count the times that I am angry or anxious or discontent because I feel that I deserve something that I haven't gotten (usually for things to be easy). But if I am following Jesus, then I must put to death the idea that I can ever pursue any of my own self-interests. As Carson mentioned in the quote above, I must "come to an end of myself." That doesn't mean that I need to live a martyr mentality of "suffering and taking up my cross" but it does mean that His interests must become my interests.

Oh Lord, help us to let go of these perceived rights that we think we have. Help us to follow Jesus who gave up all of His rights unto the point of death on a cross. Help us to live looking toward Your agenda, not our own!

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Coming to the End of Ourselves”

  1. I so love Philippians, too! I tried to memorize the book in college but only got about 1/2 way through chapter 2...maybe I'll try again.
    Thank you for that reminder ;-)
    That verse floors me everytime.

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  2. Great Word to meditate on! Thanks for sharing.

    I am praying for you and your little ones:) May the Lord keep all of you healthy and heal little Tali. And may you go into labor soon.

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