DEEPER: Philippians 2:5–7

READ

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself, . . .

Philippians 2:5–7 (NRSV)

REFLECT

Today we come to the master text on this movement of deeper. If I had to reduce the meaning of deeper to one word it would be descent. As we will always remind each other, deeper means down.

In today’s text we see an unfathomable vision: a God who descends. In today’s text we hear an unmistakable calling: become a person who descends. If we remember our story, we will recall this tragic scene in the garden: “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).

It’s right there. The ones created in the image of God decided that equality with God was something to be grasped, and they reached for it. Yet Jesus, the one who was in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.

This movement to grasp for and try to make ourselves something we are not has been with us from the beginning. It’s the quest for depth through self-powered and self-oriented ascent. The kingdom of the world runs by this race to the top. The kingdom of heaven moves by this sacred journey to the bottom. The world teaches us to fill ourselves so that we can become more than we are. Jesus teaches us to empty ourselves of all that so we can become who we most truly are.

This is hard work, but it is the real work. Deeper is the work of laying down all of the facades and false selves we have constructed over the building project of our lives. It’s yet another reason we must be banded together to get there.

PRAY

Lord Jesus, we can never think thoughts after you until we have your mind in us. We confess, though, that everything in our mind seems to be just opposite of your mind. Awaken us in a new way to understand your ways’to be given to your leadership—and to follow you because, apart from you, we will never find your way. Thank you that you do this so well. For your name’s sake, amen.

CONFERENCE

Write a word of encouragement to one or more of your band mates, a specific and personal word, about how you see them taking the lower road to real depth.