Get your priorities straight!
Each of you must look out not only for your interests, but also to the interests of others. [MVP*]
Somehow this one is a little easier to take than verse three. But it expands on the same theme. Maybe it would help if we talk about this as a goal. This is how we will act when we are complete, perfect, and mature. I hear Joyce Meyer ringing in my head, I’m terrible at this, but I’m certainly better than I was ten years ago.
It’s a process. But do not let yourself off the hook. This is the core of the Christian walk. They will know we are Jesus’ disciples by how well we live this out. What kind of witness have you been this week?
You need to match the attitude of Jesus of Nazareth. He was truly God, but he did not hold on to His rights. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, being born as a human [as a baby]. When he became like one of us, He humbled himself further by becoming obedient unto death—even the shameful death on a cross. [MVP*]
As Americans, this is where the rubber meets the road. We’ve got our rights! No, you do not. As a follower of Jesus you give up all rights to yourself. You are a slave of the King. You do what the King requires or you die. Thank God we have a righteous and loving King who has been where we are and understands.
But his understanding is not our license to get away with acting out. That is the source of His mercy towards us—not the reason we do what we do. We accept Jesus as our Lord—give Him control of our life. We volunteer to be His bond-servant/slave. We love Him and serve Him for He is the only one who is worthy. BUT we have no rights.
Jesus is the sovereign Lord with life and death authority over us. Actually this is true whether we believe or not, whether we accept it or not. However, if we accept it we get to be on the good side and receive His approval and blessing. Not because we earn it, but because of who He is.
He may ask us to serve unto death. He may require us to suffer pain and loss. He may ask us to do things that embarrass us. But He deserves our service no matter what happens to us? He is the Lord of the Universe and beyond. He is God Almighty. The Good News is that we are allowed to be part of His world, invited into the inner courts, and share in the blessings of the King.
But we get to live in the Kingdom by laying down our lives to serve Him and by counting others as those whom we serve in the name of Jesus. We are to follow Him in this. We may be princes and princesses, but we lay all of that down to serve.
Therefore, God highly exalted him and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [MVP*]
This is what Jesus earned through his obedience. We can’t earn any position—because of our sin. Jesus passed that hurdle and presently himself as a pure, undefiled, spotless sacrifice for us. As a result, he legally earned the position God gave him: King of kings, Lord of lords, above all, sovereign authority over all.
One of my favorite sayings has always been: Jesus is Lord, like it or not. He’s Lord whether or not you believe it. God has raised him up over all creation.
*MVP: This is the Modern Viking Paraphrase—my own understanding of what the scriptures say—based on multiple translations and 40 years of experience.