SIMPLE TRUTH: The unending reason for living

Published 10:51 am Friday, December 27, 2013

By Charles Christmas

The Christmas season with all its emphases and events is a prolonged journey which ends rather abruptly. But the Bible, in Philippians 2:5-11, reaches into the very reason for the season, the Incarnation, for our year-long and life-long challenge: the reason for living.

The Bible describes the commitments of the Son of God, which made possible his journey from heaven to his manger, to his ministry, to his cross and grave and resurrection, and finally, to his exaltation at the right hand of God the Father. But the description is prefaced with this challenge: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.”

This attitude is very simply explained. First, ours must be a self-emptying attitude. “He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped and held on to; rather, he emptied himself.” Although he was equal with God and owned all of heaven and earth, he gave all that up in order to do the Father’s will.

Second, our attitude must be that of a willing servant. “He took the very nature of a servant.”

Third, our attitude must be one of humility. “And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself.”

Fourth, our attitude must be one of obedience. “He became obedient.” At every point in his life, the guiding question and commitment was, “What is the will of my Father?” So must it be for me and us.

Finally, our attitude must be a continuing cross-centered, sacrificial, and Christ centered commitment. “He became obedient unto death—even to death on a cross!” We remember his obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane of “not my will but Thy will be done” in his commitment to the cross. And we remember that he called each of us who would follow him to “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.”

The climax of the self-emptying servanthood of humble obedience, even to death on a cross, was rewarded by the eternal exaltation. “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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And God is bound by the truth of his word that he will certainly lift up and exalt those whose purpose is that “our attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” As we willingly do our part, God will do his. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and he will lift you up!”

Now, I have a special word to my faithful readers. I am taking a brief four-week break from writing my Simple Truth column. I will have the relaxation of being away from my weekly article deadlines and some other commitments. I will give myself some time with the immediate families of my siblings and my children in Dothan, Memphis and Kansas City. I plan to divert by checking in on some TV bowl games. I will seek to refresh body, mind and soul. Above all, I need some unhindered times alone with the Father. I ask for your prayers that I might return to my column better prepared to be used by the Lord. My column is to resume on Jan. 23.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.