Sayings like “Be all that you can be,” “ Have it your way” or “Your number one,” can
pollute the Christian so that he is of no use for the Master’s service. Christians have no personal rights! If we are to live in harmony with what this passage says, we must lay down our deep seeded need to promote our personal rights; the right to pursue personal happiness (the “American dream”), the right to spend my money how I want to, the right to have justice when wronged at the cost of serving others, or the right to demand that our opinions be heard to name a few. We all expect our rights to be honored such as those rights which are afforded to us by our constitution. They are amazing and thankfully received in America. We take them for granted in comparison to many parts of the world. However, in the Christian life, these attitudes of our “personal rights” can hinder what God wants of his children. This passage is a beautiful reminder of what the mindset of a true servant should be.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the all powerful God, yet who is submissive. Eternal, yet I died (for a bit). Worthy of all praise and glory, yet I humbled myself in obedience.
I don’t want you to “be all that you can be,” that is not enough! It is also not acceptable in my sight because it is wrapped up in your pride. I want you to die to your own goals, ambitions and strength willingly, so that you can let me “be all that I AM” in you. I love you so much that I placed you in my Son and then placed my Spirit in you in order that you might have my encouragement, my comfort, fellowship with me, my tenderness for others, my joy in you and my love to share with all. As you possess all of these characteristics you can have confidence that I’ve got your back so that you can freely express these attributes to others. But this attitude needs to replace your fear and natural attitude of self preservation, personal rights and/or need for advancement. Be encouraged you are not alone in this struggle but united in me and my power. Do not be afraid, but be comforted in my love for you to live for others. Take courage that My Spirit lives in you. Let Him reach out to those around you as He controls you and fills you with my fruit of righteousness.
Our Christian rights are to know that God loves us. That He will never leave us. That regardless of what happens to us, it is for our good. That someday He will take us to live with him forever. Our Christian rights are what God affords to us, not some humanistic document. The more we know our Christian rights, the more we can step out in service to Him.
Think of how God reaches out to us in love. He is constantly winning us over with his grace and mercy. He is always heaping coals of fire on our heads by his graciousness. He is always trying to woo us by his love for us. This is how he wants us to live and act toward one another. He is constantly winning, not demanding our love in return. Who among us does not appreciate that about God? Why is it that we act so demanding toward each other? Why is it that so many of us “Christians” demand our rights in this life, unfortunately at the cost of admiration for the Gospel by those who watch us?
Humanistic thought creeps in and warns us not to become door mats. However, I find nowhere in scripture that we are to stand up for ourselves or our rights, but rather I do find throughout the New Testament that we are to lay down our lives in service for others. As repulsive as this is to people who think otherwise, I challenge them to prove me wrong by the New Testament.