An Empty Self
To be truly free of insecurity and pressures that draw our hearts and attention to the empty lure of this world, Christ must live in us. In order for Christ to live in us, we must be crucified with Him. Raised to new life in Him. Then, and only then, can we live a crucified life. To live – to be free – we must die. Not literally, of course. It’s the death of our old self, the one that didn’t know Jesus as Savior. It’s the death of our will and our flesh, along with old ways and thoughts, lies we’ve been told, misconceptions we’ve believed, ways we’ve always done things.
It is Philippians 2:1-8:
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
The key to it all is having the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, which begs the question: WHAT IS THE MIND OF CHRIST? We have only to look to this same passage: He made Himself of no reputation. In the Greek, it means He emptied Himself. He did only what the Father told Him to do, and He served, always putting others first.
Having the mind of Christ is to sacrifice. To set aside what we want for what others need, like Jesus did in Matthew 14:10-14. He had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist, and verse thirteen tells us Jesus departed to a deserted place by Himself. Don’t you know He just wanted a moment to Himself? And yet, the multitudes followed Him, and when Jesus saw them, He didn’t respond with exasperation, as I would have. No, verse fourteen tell us, “He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
Do I do that? When I sneak off to the restroom or my bedroom for a moment of peace and quiet and my kids follow, how do I respond? With compassion and ready to minister to them? Or with frustration and anger, thinking only of myself?
Jesus set aside offense, as we see in Matthew 26:34-49. Jesus has just explained to Peter that he would deny Him three times when He goes with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He says to them in verse thirty-eight, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me.” He leaves to pray, and when He comes back, He finds His disciples sleeping. This happens THREE TIMES, and then Judas betrays Him.
Don’t you know Jesus had plenty of justifiable opportunities to be offended? Peter, then the disciples, then Judas. What do I do when people disappoint me, when they don’t do what seems like the simplest, most considerate thing to do? Do I respond like Jesus, with yet another characteristic of the crucified life: forgiveness?
In Luke 23:32-34, Jesus is led to the cross with two other criminals. He lived the perfect life. Never sinned. And as they are crucifying Him, He says: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Has anyone done anything worse to me than what Jesus endured? To live the crucified life, I must forgive as He forgave!
And become obedient to death. Thy will not mine be done.
Again in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the road to the cross that lay before Him, in verse thirty-nine, Jesus prays: “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
THAT’S SEEKING JESUS AND HIM CRUCIFIED!
When I’m suffering or face certain suffering, am I searching for a way to get myself out of it or am I surrendered to the Father and to His will no matter what?
So we determine not to know anything except Jesus and Him crucified. We do this by living the crucified life. And we live the crucified life by having the same mind that was in Jesus Christ. We seek the Father’s will and obey unto death, death of self, and perhaps one day, literal death. As we do, the chaos in our minds and lives and the things that don’t belong begin to fall away. The slates of our minds and hearts remain clean for the Father’s will.
I challenge you to take a blank note card sometime today. On one side write out 1 Corinthians 2:2, and on the other, using just one or two words for each item, write down everything that’s cluttering your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the source of any mental and emotional chaos, and write it down. When you’re done, take a black permanent marker, and as fat and large as you can, write “JUST JESUS” across your list. Now, tape your card your mirror or keep it somewhere you’ll see it all the time. Memorize the verse, and when things start getting stirred up in your head and your emotions, ask yourself: Am I seeking only Jesus and Him crucified in this?
In 1 Corinthians 2:4-6, Paul goes on to say:
My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
As we determine to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified, what we say and do will be in demonstration of the Spirit and of power! Our faith won’t be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God! We won’t speak the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age! We won’t live by the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age WHICH IS COMING TO NOTHING!
Lord, transform us into woman who are secure, who know to whom we belong, who desire to belong in the right places for the right reasons, who see through the world’s temptations in order to remain dedicated to heavenly objectives. Let our days be lived full throttle just for You, Jesus, as we become more wholly Yours each day.