As believers it is so important to be reminded that we need to be imitators of Jesus Christ. This is key to our discernment in these times because there are many false “imitations” out there that would say, “This is what a Christian looks like.” But nothing could be further from the truth. See Jesus for Who He is as He is revealed in the Bible and by the Holy Spirit, in attitude, in mindset, in integrity, in character and in nature.
“Let this mind be in you all, which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.
But He emptied Himself,
taking upon Himself the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men.”
I. Emptied to Be Filled
Jesus emptied Himself. What does that mean? How do you empty yourself? In the Greek the word “emptied” also could mean “neutralize” or “void”. In other words Jesus laid His desires and preferences down – even that of human nature that pushes to be something or first place. This is contrary to the spirit of the world that teaches you to “make something of yourself”. In most every instance of what would be the common flow of man’s thought Jesus presented just the opposite of that. All the things that man strives for, fights for and worries about Jesus was not concerned with. His only passion was to do the Father’s will. This was not defined by a list of right and wrongs but through abiding in the Father by the Spirit.
How do you empty yourself? Surrendering your preferences, your thoughts, your plans, your zealous pursuits and agendas for a higher set – the highest, even God’s. You empty yourself of all of YOUR stuff so that you can get His heart, His thoughts and His plans. In this place of being found empty God is able to fill you with the overflow of His Spirit.
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
When we think of everything Jesus left behind, His heavenly home, the place of absolute dominion and the glories of everything associated with it, to come down to be a part of a very small world that He created in the first place because of love – it is hard to imagine or fathom! Our minds cannot possibly begin to grasp the significance of what has happened. Only by the Spirit can we gain some insight into magnitude of what Jesus did. We are just so blessed to be able to be a part of His family, to participate in His work and be available for His use.
II. A Superior Kingdom
He set the example for us in the way He emptied Himself. We don’t want to disgrace the beauty of what He has done by not emulating that very same heart and mind of Christ. To become enamored with earthly political systems, leaders and earthly concerns is not the heart of God. The disciples tried to interpret what “heaven on earth” would look like before Jesus went to the cross – just as many others had. The cross was not included in the initial assessment.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
When he didn’t grasp for earthly power and position or even involve himself in it – in essence He was showing us that His Kingdom was so far superior that it would be like comparing and ant with an elephant. However the religious systems, the Pharisees, were completely entrenched in the politics of the day. Jesus rebuked them for their hypocrisy and religiosity. Jesus said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees – the mindset that was hooked and caught up in the spirit of the world. (Matthew 16:5)
III. Picking Your Core Perspective
Jesus calls us to empty ourselves. We choose the thought patterns of life that we embrace. We choose the perspectives. Once we practice these patterns that become a part of how we interact in every day life. These become subconscious cycles of decisions and choices. They can be a blessing or toxic to our lives. Habits can be a a powerful and good thing – they just have to be the right ones. Jesus calls us to learn how to empty ourselves and to learn how to be filled with Him. Filled with His Spirit and the good fruit that flows from that most excellent communion with God. It is the most powerful life available to us being most worthy of daily habit and practice – even to where it is subconscious choice.
“And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus told Martha, who was so busy about doing all the religious busyness or the “important stuff”, to take notice of Mary who was sitting at His feet – hearing His words. He was saying to Martha, “Do you see what Mary is doing – pay attention – because this will never be taken away from her.” In other words, the choices that Mary was making had eternal significance and kingdom value – even being able to withstand the judgement seat where all things will be tried by fire.
What are all the things you are “worried” about? Are they really as important as you think? Or will they be burned up in the fire. Are you consumed with the fire of God’s love or you caught up in a being zealous for other causes that are not what Jesus stands for. Are you reflecting Jesus? They only way we can re-present Him is by being captured in glory of His Presence. Anything less is a counterfeit.
Ask God to give you grace to empty yourself of all that is not of Him and ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill your heart to the overflow!
There is no better place to be than in the Presence of God! Learn how to experience God’s Presence everyday with John’s recent book “The Secret to Experiencing God’s Presence”, the new “Falling Waters” worship album and “Healing Waters Instrumental” – one of his most popular instrumentals.