In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage (Philippians 2:5-6, NIV).
During a particularly rocky season in my twenty-year marriage, I found myself arguing with my husband frequently, which was counter- productive, to say the least. I cringe to tell you this, but one of the things we would argue about was who was better at arguing. “Don’t challenge me to a battle of wits,” I’d say, “because I’m smarter than you and I will win.” Ugly, isn’t it?
We all have God-given strengths. But the question is, can we use those strengths without hurting anyone? I obviously did not take this into consideration in my interactions with my husband. I was a clear and perfect example of how not to behave.
Jesus—who actually was the smartest person to ever live, who was fully God—willingly chose not to use those very real strengths to His advantage. The Bible calls us to live like Jesus did, to have the same mindset. When I repented of my pride and arrogance, things improved dramatically in my marriage. When I realized that Jesus provided not only an example but also real-time help via His spirit, the broken parts of my life began to heal.
The single Greek word that is translated “to be used to his own advantage” (or in some versions, “something to be grasped”), harpagmos, only occurs once in the New Testament. Scholar Craig Bloomberg points out that by becoming one of us, Jesus did not become any less God. He simply chose humility.
“The point then of the verse is not that Christ, in choosing to give up his position... gave up his deity or even his divine attributes,” Bloomberg writes, “but that he didn’t consider them as something to be used to his own personal advantage.”
FAITH STEP: Jesus was the perfect model of humility. Where, specifically, is He calling you to follow His example and let go of pride or advantage?
Written by Keri Wyatt Kent
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