Empty Yourself


Philippians 2:4-8

4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

During our journey together we have referenced or talked about the upside-down kingdom and how it is counter cultural to the world’s way of living and being.  Our text today exemplifies that truth so well. While the world calls us to only look out for ourselves, as Christ’s followers we are called to look out for the interests of others. This requires that we are vulnerable and not rigid to the world around us. 

Like Jesus we are called to empty ourselves, to take on the cares and concerns of others.  To walk in the shoes and stories of someone else.  Steven Covey encourages us to “seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” 

As I walk this journey with you it has been an emptying of all that I have held on to for leadership and church direction.  It has caused me to return to the simplicity of the gospel and wait for his leading.  It is a painful process, but also a freeing process.  It is all a true faith walk that is risky because I don’t know what is next. That is why it is a vulnerable walk, because we are trusting Jesus to lead us, just as Jesus trusted his Father to lead him against the forces of the world in a way of humble submission. Just as Jesus was crucified, so to we are called to the same crucifixion of ourselves to him. 

Galatians 2:20 

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Here is Brueggemann's encouragement to us as we walk this walk during Holy Week.  “As we walk the walk from Palm Sunday to Easter through the Thursday arrest and the Friday execution and the long Saturday wait in the void, imagine all of us, in the wake of Jesus, changing our minds, renewing our minds, altering our opinions concerning self and neighbor and world.” He goes on to state, “The clue to the new mind of Christ is emptying of our need to control and our anxious passion for security.” This emptying of ourselves will open us to a new simple freedom only found in Jesus during this Easter season.  
This Easter season you and I are being extended an open invitation to experience a new freedom to replicate the life that Christ lived, first humbled then exalted by the Father.  This new liberty allows us to be our true self as he was true to himself.        
This is a challenging transition for us all because of our need for comfort and security. But if we are ever going to experience the life he really called us to, we have to offer ourselves in self-emptying obedience, and then life with a new mind and heart begins.  
“We are eager for Easter joy and new life, and yet we are haunted by the space between where we are and where you are. Grant us a new mind, a new readiness, a new heart, that we might stand with you in self-emptying obedience. Amen.” Brueggemann     


Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.



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