Dare to Go Deeper Week 8: Taking the Attitude of Christ Jesus

May 3, 2010

In this week’s focus in our series Dare to Grow Deeper, we study Philippians 2: 5 – 11.  When we look at “taking the attitude of Christ Jesus,” we see that although Jesus was, by nature, God, he did not consider equality with God that was something to be grasped.  Jesus made himself nothing and took the nature of a servant to God.  Being of human likeness, he was obedient to God, even to death at the cross.  And because of all of this, God made Jesus’ name to be like no other, exalted to the highest place, so that every knee would bow and every tongue would confess at the name of Jesus.

How does this relate to our experience with God?  There are two points to discuss here.  Jesus gave it all up.  He emptied himself, only to be filled with God’s spirit.  In Jesus’ birth to the Virgin Mary, he was incarnated and became God’s beloved son.  We are all children of God, but before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, we have to empty ourselves.  If there is so much of “us” inside, where is there room for God to enter in and help us work out our salvation and become who we are supposed to be?

Secondly, we have to engage our personal struggle.  When Jesus was in the garden, the enemy attempted to trap Jesus.  Just as we are tempted to do, act and be what is not of God, we have a choice.  We will have a struggle.  If we give ourselves completely to God, we are asking Him to prove us right or wrong – either we meant we were His or we didn’t.  In the garden, Jesus was wrestling.  Not with the enemy necessarily.  He was wrestling with himself.  When we find ourselves in the midst of a wilderness experience, we will find ourselves battling our spiritual and our natural selves.

Wilderness experiences are inevitable in our lives.  Christian lives are not easy and pain-free.  None of us want to go into the wilderness, knowing that it will be difficult. If we refuse to go in, it is us saying that we refuse to be tested in areas that God wants to purify in us.   Jesus went into the garden because he had to.  The Spirit of God guided Jesus while he was there, keeping him from falling into temptation.  The enemy was the instrument used, but the test was to see what was in Jesus, and in our situations, what is in us.

We are fully equipped for our wilderness experience, although we may not feel like it.  God allows only the experiences that we can handle.  It is not a question of our ability to handle them, but of our availability to God while we are going through it.  When we are born into the Spirit, we are given spiritual resources and affirmation from God.  We are equipped to handle what experiences we create or those that come our way.  The more available we are to God through the process, the more He is allowed to develop us into who we are meant to be.  The more we fight Him, the more difficult we make the process.  When we get to the place in our lives where we give ourselves fully to God, the fullness of what He has given us already is realized and acknowledged.

What wilderness experience are you facing or have you been through?  How did you handle it?  Were you available to God or resisting Him?

Will you Dare To Grow Deeper with Christ?

© Kevin Dudley

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