I have a friend who I completely adore, and our messaging usually goes something like this:

  • Me: 45 words
  • Liz: 3 words
  • Me: 60 words
  • Liz: 1
  • Me: 15 (trying to keep it cool)
  • Liz: gone

She doesn’t need a paragraph to make a point (you know, unlike… others), and she doesn’t say anything she doesn’t mean.  So when she pays me a compliment, I pay attention.  Recently, she told me I’m “like Paul”.   You know, THE Paul.

Biggest. Liz. Compliment. Ever.

Then she told me to read Philippians.  Well, friends, you better believe I’m reading Philippians again.

A few things to note:

  1. Occupying only 3.5 of the 1243 pages of my Bible, this book packs a SERIOUS punch.  Read it!
  2. The whole WWJD approach is deeply flawed.
  3. I’m not really like Paul. (but thanks, Liz, I was flying high while it lasted)

It’s Phil 2:6 that’s really messed me up, bringing hot tears, and making my 4-year old ask me why I’m so “mad”(?).  (He’s also 100% convinced that “tomorrow” means “today” and I’ve stopped arguing.)

Here, Paul is trying to talk with us about humility.  Finally, a topic we already totally rock!  (Or, wait…)  Meanwhile, Paul’s approach to life, during his current, um, imprisonment and near death is essentially:  “What does it matter?  The IMPORTANT thing is that in everyway… Christ is preached.” Phil 1:18  Yes!  That sounds just exactly like my attitude.  (Or, wait…)

Paul is a great example of humility in ways you and I haven’t even thought of yet.  But, while he’s one of the few who actually could, he’s not pointing to himself for this lesson.

Paul talks about Jesus:

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”  Phil 2:6

 

I read it like 20 times.  I never realized the magnitude of this one sentence.

Let me get this straight.  Jesus decided that he wouldn’t use His EQUALITY with the one who

  • Is everlasting, the creator of the ends of the earth, never tiring, and unfathomable.  Isaiah 40:28
  • Holds all life and the very breath of all mankind in His hands.  Job 12:7
  • Is perfect.  Matthew 5:48
  • Forms light and creates darkness.  Isaiah 45:7  &  Is light and contains no darkness.  1 John 1:5
  • Is limitless….like OMEGA limitless.  Job 11:7-9
  • Knows everything about us.  Psalm 139

TO HIS ADVANTAGE?

Then there’s Heather.  I tell everyone I know that I know somebody who really knows Kristen Stewart.

We use EVERYTHING to our advantage: DNA, zip code, credit card color, loyalty status, tight yoga pants, place in line, the kids’ (uncharacteristically good) behavior, wallet girth, Zoomba skills, Groupon knowledge, hair color, spiritual gifting, sarcasm, sincerity…EVERY. DARN. THING. WE. CAN.

Jesus?

“He didn’t consider equality WITH GOD something to be used to His own advantage.”

If Christ was the restart (mine, yours and the rest of the broken down people of the world), what the HELL happened?  And by that I mean, Hell happened.

His example was humility.  Ours is Humans-look-at-me.

WWJD?  Well, he probably wouldn’t wear the bracelet, but I imagine He appreciates our intent.  He felt like some hay, not a palace, was a good spot for the King of mankind to start things off.  (I registered at 6 hospitals before finding the right one to give birth)  He didn’t turn stones to bread, preach from stadiums, have a home, or marry.  He never once started His teaching with a catchy:

  • “Here’s an example of what I’ve done” or
  • “Let me tell you about my crazy day” or
  • “When God and I were deciding how to handle your mess”
  • (You know, more-or-less the way every heatheryoderwrites begins)

He just lived – simply.  He just walked – lightly.  He just loved – unapologetically.  He just gave – freely.

He just didn’t consider equality with God something to use to His advantage.  (still blowing my mind)

“Rather, He made himself NOTHING by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…he HUMBLED himself by becoming OBEDIENT TO DEATH  — EVEN ON A CROSS”. Phil 2:7-8

And what did God the Father think about this approach?  How did He respond to this kind of heart?:

Therefore God exalted him to the HIGHEST PLACE and gave him the name that is ABOVE EVERY NAME (I crazy love that statement.  I want to high-five the Bible every time I read it).  That at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under earth.  And EVERY tongue ACKNOWLEDGE that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.”  Phil: 2:9-11

This blog started with me telling you that I’m like Paul.  A wee bit (and accidentally) ironic since Jesus wouldn’t even capitalize on the fact that He is, in fact, equal to God.  I have a few leaping steps to take to be more like Paul… But here’s the part that gives me the “mad tears” all over again:

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him… But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.  John 1:9-13

Do you understand?  When you receive Jesus, you become God’s.  BORN OF HIM.  Now, if we were name droppers, THAT would be a name to throw out there.

So tell me, Liz, in how many words could you have written this blog?  I’m guessing about 20:

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”

Yeah, that would have been good too.