Thursday, June 12, 2008

Self Denial is the Key to Self Fulfillment

Philippians Chapter 2 is often referred to by Bible scholars as the "kenosis" passage. Kenosis is the Greek word meaning to empty and is drawn from Philippians 2 where it says that "Jesus emptied himself, talking the form of a servant . . .". In order for Jesus to be what he was called and sent to be he had to put his privileges aside ("though in the form of God did not count equality with God as something to hold on to"). Jesus set aside the rights and privileges of being the Son of God in order that he might become mortal like us and offer his life for ours.

I wonder how often my sense of rights and entitlements get in the way of living out God's call and claim on my life. I find myself, on occasion, looking at a particular task or encounter with the preservation of my "dignity" or "the dignity of my office" as a primary consideration. In this way of thinking, where I am the center and focus and end product of my own personal universe, I will never submit, never step aside and never "empty myself" and therefore never become the servant leader Jesus calls me to be.

Someone once said that a person can accomplish a lot if they don't care who gets the credit. The Bible reminds us that "Kingdom" values are radically different from the "World's" values. The world values things like power, money, and control. The Kingdom of God values service, stewardship, and surrendering control to God. In the Bible's way of thinking surrender is the key to spiritual victory.

My prayer for the day: Lord, help me be empty of Me and filled with your Holy Spirit. Free me from the tyranny of my own ego and my own sense of importance and help me be free to serve. Amen.

Dr. BJ

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