A Perpetual Descent

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:1-11

Notice, in verse 3, the phrase: “lowliness of mind”.

The Bible concludes in verses 9 through 11 that the reason God exalted Jesus so highly and gave Him a name that is above every name is because of this very attribute: that Jesus was lowly of mind.

By “mind” the Bible is not talking of the human brain because the human brain cannot comprehend nor accept the concept of “lowliness”. In fact, our brains are the biggest stumbling block to our understanding of God’s Kingdom.

The “mind” that the Bible is talking of here is the heart. Jesus transforms the heart.

It stymies me that Jesus was lowly of mind right from heaven. He did not come and begin learning to be humble on earth, no. He was humble right from the beginning.

On the contrary, did you ever notice that the lesson of humility is so difficult that even the best of us is learning to be humble the way a child begins to learn how to walk? Humility is as alien to human nature as light is from darkness.

But the Bible teaches that Jesus was humble right from the beginning. That is because humility is an attribute of His Godly nature. Since the beginning, Jesus had only been humbling himself. The minute, therefore, that God the Father decided that Someone needed to come to earth and be sacrificed for the sins of mankind, Jesus, who was seated at the right hand of the Father at that particular moment, immediately rose up, put off all His glory, and descended to earth as Joseph’s son.

Moreover, Jesus did not descend to earth Rambo-style. Nor, when He arrived on earth, did He begin walking about like the Son of God. He did not begin snapping fingers left, right and centre and start organising an army to assault the devil. On the contrary, Jesus just continued humbling Himself. He taught the people:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mt. 11:29)

Jesus spent all His life here on earth just humbling Himself. But this humbling of Himself was a result of the attribute that was in Him.

Finally, let us examine the most important aspect of Jesus’ descent. In verse 8 the Bible states:

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

In humbling Himself, Jesus arrived at the cross. And through His death on the cross, Jesus descended to hell and “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15)

It follows, therefore, that our victory over the devil and his Kingdom, including sin, can only be attained when we are walking in the revelation of the cross; when, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are daily denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Christ.

Why “daily”? Because humility has become a spiritual attribute in us.

In practical terms, humbling ourselves means giving up our rights.

The other day, the school that my son attends demanded that every student pay a large sum of money to attend a certain festivity. Whether one wanted to attend or not, they were required to pay up.

The announcement had parents up in arms, and I was also preparing to call the headmaster to register my disappointment at such a callous infringement of my rights. Just then, the Lord reminded me of this scripture, and I felt so ashamed of my pride. I realized I was not descending!

The minute I realized this, I immediately called the headmaster and told him, “Sir, my son will be bringing you the money for the festival tomorrow.”

No arguing, no complaining and, in fact, I felt a surprising peace in my heart. I remembered Jesus’ words:

“28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls…” (Mat. 11:28-29).

My son will not be attending the festivity. But I paid up joyfully because this was an opportunity for me to descend!

The Bible makes it clear that only a spiritual attitude of perpetual descent can allow God to make us into truly great men in the Spirit, like God made His Son Jesus to become.

I don’t know what it is we are looking for in the Kingdom of God. But we should seek to become like our Lord Jesus, not just in His greatness, but in His descent also.

[Mount Calvary: the ultimate road to spiritual victory]

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