Surrender and Selflessness

From Dan McClain…

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT)

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

A while back I was listening to a stand-up comedian who was going on a rant about people “these days.” He was complaining about how people drive, how people don’t hold the door, how people talk on the phone at inappropriate times in public and many other situations. His banter was humorous because it was something the audience could relate to. He ended up boiling the problems of the world down to two human behaviors that are at the root. The two behaviors he took aim at were impatience and self-importance. The guy behind you that honks as soon as the light is green…impatience. The lady that talks on the cell phone while she is being waited on at the counter, only deeming the human in front of her worth half her attention… self-importance. That Facebook post… I won’t go there. 🙂

As a follower of Jesus I am learning that the problem with humanity (me) is not impatience and self-importance but rather a lack of surrender and selflessness. The problem with humanity (me) is not a behavior that needs to change, it is a worldview that needs to be changed. This is where we need to jump into the scripture posted above. I have the scripture in both ESV and NLT because these are the two translations I use when I study the Word. The ESV provides a word for word translation of the original text and the NLT provides a modern thought for thought translation.

In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul writes about the behavior and attitude of Jesus. Jesus is God.  He is not a god. He is not one of three gods. He is God. While in human form He surrendered His divine privileges and took the humble position of being human. He humbled Himself in obedience to God. He surrendered His will to the will of His Father. To surrender means to relinquish possession or control to another, to submit to the power, authority, and control of another. Understanding this leads me to ask myself, “Do I really live my life with God as my authority?”

I like to have plans. I like to have goals. I like to achieve and I don’t think I am alone in this. What God is saying in these scriptures is that my plans, goals and achievements need to be surrendered to Him.

Reflecting on your own life, who holds the keys to your life?

Theologian and Pastor J. Hampton Keathley III once wrote, “as seen in the life of Christ, servanthood is ultimately the outcome of one who, having first surrendered himself to God, is able to give himself selflessly for God and others.”

Jesus surrendered His life’s agenda to the will of God. He humbled Himself to the point of death. Jesus willingly gave Himself sacrificially that God’s will might be fulfilled in and though His life and death. Out of the seeds of surrender will come the fruit of sacrifice. In practical terms for followers of Jesus this means sacrificing our own desires and will in total submission to God and to do whatever He calls us to do.

When I apply this scripture in my life one area that God is using this reminder from Scripture on is with my time. There are only 24 hours in a day and if I am not purposeful I can reach the end of my day and realize that I have not lived for the glory of God. I’m not saying that I need to open up an Outlook or iCal calendar and schedule “glorify God” time because that would be missing the point. What the Word is teaching me is that I need to sacrifice the things that feed selfish desires to make me open and available to do His will.

Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Reflecting on your own life, what are some of the things the Lord may be calling on you to sacrifice or give up in order to fulfill His will and purpose or to minister to someone in need?