“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 2:5
When I was nine-years-old I wanted to be The Fonz. He was the very definition of cool. And I poured myself into being exactly like him. I did everything a little boy without a motorcycle could to imitate Fonzie. I wore my blue jean jacket with the collar up, even when it was 95-degrees outside. I blew on my fist before hitting the button on the Coke machine at the city rec center. I carried a comb in my back pocket. I called my friend Mike Cunningham’s dad “Mr. C.” When I went to the bathroom I said I was stepping into my office. I called my sister “Shortcake.” I told everybody to “Sit on it!” And I was constantly sticking up both thumbs and declaring a profound, “Aaayyyy!”
It didn’t make anybody’s joy complete.
My parents that year took away the TV, my bicycle, my allowance, and my football trying to break me of those habits.
I told the story yesterday to illustrate what Paul does in Philippians 2. He tells us to be like Jesus, to have his attitude, to have his outlook. And that sounds good. It sounds great. Who could argue with that concept? But what does it look like? What does Jesus say? What does Jesus do? How does Jesus act?
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Christ Jesus gives up everything. And dies for others.
How do we consider others better than ourselves? How do we look to the interests of others? Paul says, look at Jesus.
Jesus sacrificed for us, he served us, by giving up completely everything that was his. He poured out his diety. He let go of his equality with God. He sacrificed his eternal power. He gave up his heavenly glory. Our model, the one we follow, willingly traded heaven for earth, glory for shame, a royal scepter for a slave’s water basin, life for death — even death on a cross!
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. You should give up everything and die for others.
When I got home yesterday afternoon there was a message on my phone from Charlie P. Charlie is raising his six-year-old grandson. And he had called to tell me that after lunch, he had found his grandson in the garage wearing a blue jean jacket with the collar up. He had wet his hair and combed it straight back. And he was posing with his thumbs up. “Aaayyy!”
My prayer is that everybody went home yesterday and began to imitate Jesus with the same fervor and energy this little boy used to imitate me imitating The Fonz.
What are you sacrificing to be a Christian? What are you giving up to be a member of your church family? What is it costing you to imitate our Lord? Are you dying to yourself every day to benefit the person who sits behind you at the assembly? What are you giving up to be a Christian?