Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:6-7
I go back to these verses frequently and ponder the wonder of them. To think that God himself would take on the nature of a servant and be made in human likeness in order to reconcile ME to the Father…well, it’s just overwhelming. How about you, does it fill you with awe? I pray that the reality of what Jesus gave up and gave you overwhelms you.
In Philippians 2:7, it states, “made himself nothing.” That portion of scripture means, He laid aside His glory. This is key to grasping the reality of the incarnation. John 1:14 says, “And the Word (Logos) became flesh, and dwelt among us.” Jesus was not two separate personalities, he was one person possessing two natures…divine and human. He did not empty himself of His deity. In His incarnation, Jesus did not at any time, for any reason, to any degree or for any season lay aside His deity. Colossians 2:9 states, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” This scripture confirms and attests that Christ was complete in His deity in his human body.
John 17:5, Jesus prayed to His Father, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Jesus lived in glory with the Father and He laid it aside to take on the nature of a man. His glory is in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His glory is witnessed in having legions upon legions of angels praising, worshiping and attending Him at all times.
Understanding Jesus as the God-man is something that we cannot fully comprehend. We won’t be able, in this life, to understand how it transpired, but it is important; however, to grasp the fundamentals of this reality. Jesus was fully God and fully man in His human body. There were infrequent times when the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to access the superhuman capacities which are a part of His divine attributes. Other than those infrequent occurrences, Jesus lived out His life under real limitations fundamental to unfallen humanity. During the period between His physical birth and His ascension to the Father, Jesus voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes.
Sometimes I believe I am so slow to learn. I have within the last couple of years come into a experiential learning of what it is to die to self in my flesh to a deeper level than I’ve ever experienced. In exchange, I experienced a test of waiting on God and experiencing His glorious will and purpose coming to pass. It was not easy, but necessary and an enriching experience for me if I was to further my walk with the Lord. In the midst, I spent days and days that turned into months and months on my knees in prayer.
Of course, at first, my flesh fought me. In fact, the battle really began when I set my face like a flint. Then in one particular situation, fear gripped me because I had never trusted God to that particular level. It took days of struggling, but the desire to be obedient to God finally held sway. During those days of struggle, the thought came to me of praying and asking the Lord to give me a joy in the expectancy of waiting through the Holy Spirit. That is what the Bible means by “hoping in the Lord.” Hoping is associated with waiting on Him. Hoping is expectantly waiting to see what God is going to do. This is where, for me, Jeremiah 29:11 came to life, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” After those days of struggle, instead of the intensity of what I wanted, in my flesh, getting stronger…the intensity of my flesh began to weaken. The desire to wait on God became stronger. The scripture verse that I clung to changed as well. Instead of Jeremiah 29:11, I started quoting “And God works all things together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. And the joy of waiting and watching for Him became glorious. I prayed. I watched. I waited.
This is where the pedal meets the metal. Isn’t this where the war is waged? This is where it’s possible to win the battle or lose ground because we cease waiting on Him. We give up and cease waiting on the Lord because the circumstances may start to look worse and we become fearful. In fact, the circumstances may begin to look, in our thinking, catastrophic, but God is in the midst of those circumstances. He is working in those circumstances. Beloved, God requires, first and foremost, faith and trust, then and only then, does he open our eyes to see. Faith always precedes sight. So our circumstances can look dire and that’s why we can’t depend on what we see. We must trust Him whom we don’t see. If you will hold sway to Him and wait on Him, He will reveal to you His will and His beauty and your joy will be full.
Everything around us tells us to trust what our eyes see. The challenge of our faith walk intensifies because of the culture we live in. A culture of instant gratification. Instant access to knowledge. Instant access to just about anything we want. But Paul admonishes us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I’m so thankful that our God is not coerced by our desires, by our culture, or by anything outside of Himself. So, we must fight against our inclination and our culture that tells us to trust what we see. We must trust Him whom we can’t see.
He is the truth. He is the life. He is the way. Trust Him. Trust the Son of God who loved us enough to lay aside His glory and become a man so that we, as man, would become sons of God.