And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
The humility of Christ that we explored yesterday came in the form of obedience to the Father. God the Son placed himself in submission to God the Father. It is a glorious paradox that a person of the Godhead would occupy a place of surrender to another person of the Godhead. The one true God, the one from whom no one has authority to require obedience or allegiance, submitted to himself in order to intercede on our behalf. This obedience, however, was not man’s brand of obedience.
This verse tells us what we know if we have accepted Christ as our savior; He died on a cross as it was the Father’s will for our redemption. That His obedience transcended death carries with it what I believe is a clear requirement of complete submission to the Father. One who is obedient as Christ was obedient disregards all considerations of the temporal being for the sake of satisfying the Father. No mortal discomfort, neither hunger nor pain, neither humiliation nor death, nor any mortal pleasure, neither lust nor greed, could shake Christ’s obedience to the Father. This is because His obedience was rooted in a focus on the eternal. The temporary sacrifices required to obey God completely are inconsequential when compared with the eternal glory that comes as a result of that obedience. If we believe that Jesus set the example for us, then we have to believe that our obedience can, should and must mirror what we find in this verse.
Brothers and sisters, we serve a God who already has overcome the world. No matter what troubles the world may bring us, no matter what temptations the enemy lays before us, the very power carried by Christ that allowed Him to be perfectly obedient unto death resides within us. To be free from sin means to be free to obey God. This is not an obedience that is measured in increments or percentages. We are free to completely obey God, because His Holy Spirit makes that possible for us. Do you believe that you can walk in complete obedience to God simply by walking in the Spirit He imparts to us? Father, help us to stop trying to obey You and to simply allow Your Spirit within us to bring about obedience as a result of an unwavering desire to please You.