The character we show a watching world

Posted Aug 3, 2021

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Daily Scripture

Philippians 2:4-11

4 Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
7 But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,
10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow
11 and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection Questions

Philippians quoted an early Christian hymn in which Christians boldly told the Roman world Jesus was their “Lord.” We know Roman emperors ruthlessly clung to the title “Lord.” But Christians said Jesus, the true “Lord,” was humble, loving and gracious, willing to “empty himself” (verse 7) for us. With Rome’s mighty army against Jesus' seemingly naïve followers, the contest looked absurdly uneven. It was—but 2,000 years of history show that Jesus, not Caesar, was the irresistible influence.

  • The hymn the apostle Paul quoted said Jesus “emptied himself…by becoming like human beings.” And not like a powerful, wealthy human being: “When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Do you recoil from that kind of humbling career or life path, or do you sense the freedom and power of it? How does this deepen your sense of what it means to want to “be like Jesus”?
  • Scholar H. C. Hewlett said, “Humility is the recognition of our true littleness as those dependent utterly on God.”* That’s quite different from yielding outwardly while being irate inside about someone else “winning” or depriving you of a treasured position or “perk.” How can the kind of deep humility Jesus modeled open your heart to God’s love? How can it clear away inner barriers that may block us from loving one another?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you decided you’d rather save me than preserve your own comfort or dignity. Help me to have your attitude in my daily life. Amen.


* H. C. Hewlett, comment on Philippians 2:3 in F. F. Bruce, general editor, New International Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979.

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Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim serves as one of the pastors of Connection and Care at Resurrection Leawood. An avid believer that growing in faith pairs well with fellowship and food, she is always ready for recommendations on local restaurants and coffee shops.

My goddaughter, Lily, calls me Imo (the Korean word for Aunt). She is five years old and is the most amazing human being. Being her Imo fills me with a lot of joy, but it wasn't always that way.

When asked to be Lily's godmother, I was excited. I delighted in the idea of taking her places, spoiling her, and one day embarrassing her with all the pictures I had collected since she was in diapers. Except when I am honest with myself, those pictures weren't for her. They were for me. You see, when Lily was born, all my friends were married and having children of their own. It felt like everyone was living their best lives, and I was behind. As much as I hate to say it now, Lily was my "in" to keep up with the Jones of my social media world.

A few months after Lily's birth, her mom Christy gave me forms to sign if something unforeseen happened and she was no longer able to care for Lily. I was floored and completely humbled. The reality hit me that I had missed the mark on what it meant to be a godparent. Lily wasn't going to need my Instagram handle; she wasn't going to care who my followers were. What Lily needed was someone who was going to walk like Jesus, to pray with her, to celebrate her successes and joys, to cry and mourn with her, and someone who wasn't afraid of being vulnerable. What she needed wasn't a picture-perfect Imo. She needed me--unfiltered, often flawed, and still becoming who God wants me to be.

I still love taking pictures of Lily, and one day, I plan to share them with her. However, I know now that my end game isn't about drawing more likes, but for her to know Jesus. Is there someone in your life that God is calling you to be real with? I pray that you have the courage to humble yourself like Jesus so that God can strengthen you to be an influencer.

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