Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Being Emptied

Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
Though he was in the form of God,
        he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
 But he emptied himself
        by taking the form of a slave
        and by becoming like human beings.
                                                                                                Philippians 2:5-7

Precedent exists for the expression, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It seems that power is like an infection. Just a small exposure is often enough to set the disease on its voracious course.

It is an infection that does not discriminate. Power is as abused in churches as in commerce and government. Power unleashes pride and the two join together with deadly force. Combatting the corruption of power is a mammoth task because there are always folks around to feed the pride of the powerful and it is hard not to be sucked into the flattery and attention that power attracts.

Reading the passage above should remind us that following Jesus is so completely counter-cultural that if we actually follow, we will certainly be criticized, misunderstood and rejected by many. It will not make us popular. It will not feed pride.

Those who empty themselves, who do not seek to meet aggression with aggression, may seem to be defeated right out of the gate. The peace and presence of God in them makes them stronger than the prideful powerful.

Jesus emptied himself. He had all the power in the world but chose not to wield it. He came to us a weak, helpless infant, grew into an adult in an out of the way village whose only possessions were the clothes he wore.

Imagine how much difference we could make if we chose to empty ourselves of power and pride instead of using them to advance our agendas, even when we believe our agenda is God’s agenda. This passage in Philippians reminds us that emptiness, humility and sacrifice are the way of Christ. May it be so for us so that we may be kingdom builders instead of power brokers.

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