For at least a decade and a half my life verse has been Philippians 2:5.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
I recently wrote that this verse became my mantra, my guide, my measuring stick. What should I do in this situation? Whatever Jesus would do. (And no, I don’t have one of those bracelets.)
But this verse also became a chain around my neck. I know better than to [snap at my husband or gossip or complain or…]. My attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus! What’s wrong with me? I have to work harder to be better.
And it became my source of pride. I’m working to have Jesus’ attitude so everything about me, even the way I think, is all him.
It seems wrong somehow to say that scripture, especially one as beautiful as Philippians 2, is condemning and a source of pride. But that’s what it had become. Because I had made this beautiful verse which, when taken in context, speaks of the greatness of Jesus and made it all about me.
When in reality, by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB)
In reality, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)
In reality, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:1-6 NIV)
In reality, whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (Philippians 3:7-10 NASB)
In reality, it’s not about me.
It’s all about Jesus.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11 NIV)
And so I do ask for the attitude and mind of Christ. But I also ask that Jesus be glorified in me. I ask that Jesus would change me. I ask that Jesus would control me. I ask that Jesus would use me as he sees fit.
But mostly, I just ask for Jesus.
And so now I’m on a quest for a new life verse. For now, though, I’m meditating on Ephesians 3:17-20.
And that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NASB)