The passage above (Philippians 2:1-8) shows us the kenosis of Christ. Kenosis comes from the Greek word used for “emptied” in this passage. We’ll delve into that word picture in just a bit, it’s a really cool one. This passage is the ultimate picture of humility.
Humility is a proper view of myself in light of a proper view of God. That puts me pretty low, but in a good way. When I see myself as the worst of sinners needing grace, then I am in the best position to give grace to others.
The idea of kensosis means to empty. Christ’s position to God is one of equality, but he emptied himself, he made himself positionally lower than God the Father (v. 6-7). He even took it a step further; he made himself, positionally lower than you and me by taking the punishment for our sins on the cross (v. 8). Christ made himself nothing, emptying himself by setting aside some of his traits, so that he may be obedient and become the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
What Did Christ Give Up?
- Heavenly Glory—while Christ was on the earth he gave up his face to face relationship with his Father (John 17:5).
- Independent Authority—Christ completely submitted to God the Father while he was on earth (Matthew 26:39).
- Eternal Riches—While Christ was on earth he was very poor and didn’t have much (2 Corinthians 8:9).
- A Favorable Relationship with God—While Christ was on the Cross, he felt the wrath of God for our sake (Matthew 27: 46).
Because Christ loved us, he submitted to the will of his father and became a servant. That’s true love. The master came down and died for the servant, he washed us so that we may have a relationship with him. That’s different than anything we’ve ever seen or heard. We saw Paul served that he might win some. Christ served us, the servant, so that we can have something to win.
Paul tells us to have that same exact mind in us. So today I put this question before you. What can you empty yourself of, for the glory of God?
What Can I Give Up?
- A weekend to serve in the church
- Some money to buy a friend a meal instead of going to McDonald’s for a week
- Time to spend some time with somebody who may be lonely
- My pride to lay down a petty argument with a coworker even though you might be right
Pray today and ask God to show you what you need to give up, who you need to serve so that you can show them you are one of his children. When you have a heart of humility, always being ready to show Christ’s love to others, there won’t even be a question about this, people will know. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”
(1st Chart is taken from MacArthur ESV Study Bible. Copyright 1997 Thomas Nelson, Inc.)